painting creases and folds on flowers

poppy flowers

                   Images 1 and 2: layers of the yellows and orange in the same way that I had described earlier.

                   Image 3: I have started putting in the folds here, this time wet-on-dry.

                   Image 4: In the area which I have marked `a`, you can see that one edge of the folds is hard and the other edge is soft: for this type of fold, apply the shadow color wet-on-dry and then soften the upper edge with a damp brush. You can also lift out a thin area of highlight on top of this fold. I have also added WN winsor red to my mixes in areas which tend towards a redder hue. You can also use it brighten your shadow color if it looks too dull. Schminke red madder dark is a dull red which I have used in shadows, Winsor and Newton winsor red is a nice red which is not cool like Schminke´s ruby red.

                   Image 5: A large shadow here made by the petal behind the main one. You can do this wet-on-dry softening any edges if required. The top and bottom areas of the petal marked `a` and `b` are darker, add a little more of blue and red madder dark to the mix and add this while the wash is still wet. Add creases now with a darker shadow color. You can also do them later when the petal is completely dry: Add them wet-on-dry and run a damp brush over them to soften the edges. The edges of the large bottom petal tend towards red. Leave out highlights in all the layers, you can tint them later.

                  Image 6:  The area marked `a`has some winsor red and tends a lot towards red.

                  Image 7: The area marked `a` is a shadow color, if you make this too bright, it will pop forward and wont give you that cup shape over there.

               In general, I have first wet the petal gently (being careful not to disturb the previous layers), put in a shadow color whereever soft edges are required and then put in the darker shadows and also shadows having harder edges. Study the petal carefully before wetting it and then lay in the colors confidently without fumbling, as going back and forth is sure to ruin the wash. It doesn´t matter if you don´t paint the folds exactly as you see them; you only have to get a feel for the three dimensional form and get that sense into what you are creating.

              Paint the shadows on the butterfly created by the two wings overlapping each other, where they don´t overlap you should be able to see some nice bits of clean yellow of the first layers shining. The shadow colors tend towards green (specially the top wing) and some towards orange.

painting creases - steps

              Here´s the photo that I had taken on a nice, sunny day at the market:

poppy flowers


How to paint poppy flowers

Here´s where I am on my new painting of cheerful, sunny poppy flowers (which I found here at Weil am Rhein), a cute little tulip solar garden-light (a find at the Europa park) and a beautiful sulphur butterfly(from I wanted a true yellow here, not as warm as new gamboge and not as cool as hansa yellow medium, but somewhere in between like WN winsor yellow, but this is not completely transparent (you can see in the chart below, that it somewhat decks the black line, (colors are not reproduced exactly the same on screen)). So, for the first washes I have used a mix of the hansa yellow medium plus a little bit of new gamboge.

Wash over the petal with water and wait for half a minute or so to let the water sink in, then layer with a light mix of these two yellows (photo 1). Let it dry thoroughly and repeat this step leaving areas for the highlights (photo 2). Repeat again with a layer of Schminke translucent orange (photo 3), leaving the edges a little paler. Lift out highlights with a stiff brush. Repeat with another layer of translucent orange (photo 4). Add the shadows in the next layer. Adding just blue to the orange, will give a olive tinge to the shadow color, so add some Schminke red madder dark as well to brighten it. The layer  in photo 5 has this mix of S translucent orange, S red madder dark and (very little) MG phthalo blue. Add an extra bit of phthalo blue in the stronger shadow on the inside of the petal. Paint in creases on the top side of the petal. Lift off highlights.

On a 11 step value scale, you need to get to a value of 8 to 9 in the deeper shadows, 4 to 5 in the sunlit areas and 2 or 3 in the highlights.

For the butterfly, paint wet-in-wet a mix of the two yellows, favoring the cooler yellow (photo 3). Repeat this step for the next layer (photo 4). Repeat again, this time adding the translucent orange in some areas (photo 5).

How to paint poppy flowers -1


                 Hi everyone,

                  I want to update this blog and I need some feedback from you, to make your surfing experience that much nicer!

Spring Song (Apple blossoms and Prairie Warbler)


Strengthened a few colors here and there:

Spring Song

Spring Song

Finished Painting – Spring Song

Spring Song

                  For the warbler, the first layers are in DS hansa yellow medium and the next ones have a bit of DS new gamboge to get a darker value. The spots are put in wet-in-wet with a dull red mix. Add shadows with a dark brown mix under the wing and feather groups. The nest is in various shades of brown, after putting in a few squiggles and lines with masking fluid to save the lighter colored twigs:

Spring Song

my painting so far..


apple blossoms

                      The rest of the blossoms have been painted the same way as the previous ones. I have faded out the flowers as they move towards the left, to stop the eye from going out of the picture. So that there is not an abrupt jump from detailed and high contrast area (1) to no-detail and less contrast area (3), there is a middle zone (2) where there is somewhat of a detail:

apple blossoms

apple blossoms

               For the branch, mix some new gamboge to your violet (shadow) mix to get a pale brown, lay in wet-on-wet and before this layer dries, add a shadow on the underside with a darker (i.e less-diluted) mix of the same color. As it starts to dry, you can add some knots and lines with a detail brush.

painting the apple blossoms


apple blossoms

                 Apple blossoms are usually pink as buds and then start turning white as they flower; a few varieties are actually dark pink and some have just the edges that are pink and those are what I´ve chosen to paint. My photograph has the light coming directly overhead and the painting has it falling from the left, so I´ve changed the lighting accordingly for the flowers and leaves. As you are modelling each petal , imagine the direction of the light and ask yourself whether the area that you are painting will catch the light or fall in shadow.

                  For the first layer (protect the stamens with masking fluid), paint in all the form shadows first; I simply made up the folds and creases on the petals. Make a mix of the red and blue to get a violet and add yellow to dull the violet to a shadow color. Wet each petal separately, wait for a few seconds for the water to sink into the paper and lay in your shadow mix. After all these layers have completely dried, wet the petals again one by one and touch the edges of the petals with your red mix, as this starts to dry add the veins with a a slightly more concentrated red. The shape of the veins are very important as they suggest the form of the petal. The shadows that you have put in the first layer should show through in the next layer if you are using a transparent red; you can further define these shadows with a red-violet mix. I like this Cheap Joe´s Lizards Lick brush (in the photo above) a lot for painting fine details like veins etc, it has a sharp point and also has a good body of hairs at the top so you don´t have to load the brush so often. Remove the masking after everything´s thoroughly dried and paint fine shadows on the undersides of the stamens, paint the pollen with DS new gamboge and put tiny shadows in them:

layers for flowers

                 The leaves are a mix of the two yellows and phthalo blue and a hint of the red:

layers for leaves

painting the background

I put masking fluid with a masking pen, to protect the edges of the foreground. Let it dry thoroughly before starting to paint. The colors are DS hansa yellow medium, DS new gamboge, MG phthalo blue and S ruby red. Wet the background applying water evenly so that there are no puddles or dry spots. Float in the colors gently, the grey is made from a mix of the four colors. This layer has low values, the lowest being the area at the top left.

first layer

                   Let the first layer dry thoroughly, if you´re using a hair dryer, use it from a distance since its difficult to remove the masking if it gets heated. Wet the area again, this time with a spray bottle which has a gentle spray (a washed glass-reiniger/cleaner bottle works well for this) since a brush can disturb the first layer. Gently smooth out the spray with a brush if necessary. Lay in darker values using quick and confident strokes without going back and forth in the same area. Rock the paper to and fro to mix and blend the colors. Let dry thoroughly.

second layer

                  Mix some chinese white with the above colors (to make pale tints) to paint some background flowers and leaves. What freedom to be able to paint with white! Don´t forget to take into consideration that opaque colors dry darker when dry, unlike watercolors  which dry lighter. I´ve left mine to finish after doing the main flowers, so it will be easier to see where to place them and how many.

third layer

                        Here´s my value sketch:

value sketch