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Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Painting Flowers using Leaves

This blog is aimed at breaking through the misconception a lot of people seem to have that they can't paint. I am going to use some unconventional methods to help you paint the picture below. Once you have done this, I hope that you will feel more confidant to pick up a brush and paint so as to start creating the wonderful pictures you have always dreamed of doing. This is also a fun painting project to do with kids, allowing for a great deal of freedom and easy success.

I start on a prepared stretched canvas. I am going to put three shades of acrylic green down randomly, painted with a rather wide brush.

I start with Sap Green, making loose strokes all over the canvas and leaving plenty of white spaces open between. Avoid making any pattern. Once I am done with the Sap Green, I follow up with Light Green. I still leave open spaces and work at random.

I finally fill the last of the open spaces with a dark Leaf Green.

Although I have only used three shades of green, I will have created a variety of shades by overlapping colours. This leaves me with a vibrant background that will form a very interesting contrast with the more subdued flowers in the foreground.

I squeeze a dollop of Alizarin Crimson onto my palette and spread it out so that I can use it like a stamp pad to press objects into. I cut the end off an empty toilet roll and squeezed a little flat to take the shape of a leaf. I press this into the paint. I then press outlines of flower petals on the canvas using the toilet roll stamp. I space the flowers randomly over the canvas. Try to avoid even numbers of petals in the flowers. You should also make an uneven number of flowers, e.g. 1, or 3, or 5, etc.

Squeezing a small dollop of Payne's Grey onto the palette, I use a paint pusher (which has a stiff point) to make random dots in the petals of my flowers. This step is optional, but I feel it makes the flowers a little more interesting and will eventually assist in capturing the attention of the viewer for longer. I then turn to the garden where I find the leaf on one of the succulents (I do not know plants and can't give you the name of the plant). You can search for any leaf that has more or less the same shape as the one we created with the toilet roll. Pick the paint up with the petal and lay it down in the outline. Since the leaf I'm using is of sturdy stuff, it allows me to apply the paint quite liberally and I am able to maneuver it to fill the space completely.

I create centers for the flowers using Deep Cadmium Yellow and painting it with very loose strokes in the middle of the flowers. I used a small flat brush for this purpose, but a round brush will work just as nicely.

I dip my brush in the Payne's Grey again and make long swooping stems for my flowers. Try to make these in one movement without lifting your brush. That way you will avoid creating a staccato effect. Don't mind it being too neat; that is not the sort of painting we are creating here. As a matter of fact, closer inspection of the stem on the right of my painting will reveal numerous shortcomings. Leave it be. Going back and reworking the stem will result in a too controlled and rigid appearance.

I do not want the leaves to distract from flowers. That is why they simply become upside down v-shapes. Work swiftly and loosely. Over-working this and being too tight will ruin the effect of this painting.

I decide to make the dots in the petals a little more pronounced and repeat the earlier step for creating them over the crimson paint. All that is left for you to do is to pick one of the bottom corners and sign your name. This is easiest to achieve using a Rigger brush. Easy as pie.

You can own the original painting from this demonstration. It is available from the Gallery in from artist Miekie's collection of work.

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Remember to keep nurturing your TALENT for making PRETTY things.
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