Avoid Creating Flower Monotony in Your Paintings

Avoid Painting the Same Flower Over and Over

When you're painting flowers, remember to create them in different sizes, shapes and values.  It is much more interesting visually and it's also more realistic looking.  Our left brain sometimes wants to take over and starts telling us that the least amount of information is "good enough." For example, when I began my exploration of painting more loosely, I would find these quick tutorials on YouTube on painting roses. After attempting to create my own, all the roses appeared to be shaped like cinnamon buns where they were all facing forward, the same size and shape.  Very boring stuff and very unrealistic. If you want to paint more realistic flowers remember the following tips.

Different Sizes

The flowers will overlap each other. Some will be on full display with all the details and some will be partially shown or “cut off”. I would recommend leaving the hidden flowers in less detail with only a few brushstrokes so the eye will focus on the closest one. Make sure to vary the sizes of the flowers for interest. Your focal flowers should be much more detailed and most likely the largest.  

Different Shapes
Flowers will lean in different directions so use foreshortening techniques when painting petals. As the petals come towards you, paint them short, like a horizontal rectangle. If they are facing away, sometimes you won’t see but a small portion of the back petals. Remember also that circular shapes shift towards ellipses when facing away.
Different Values
Some petals will be in shadow so make sure to paint them in varying shades or values. It’s a great idea to use the filter on your phone/camera to see if you’re are applying your values correctly. For example, after painting awhile, take a picture of your painting. Then edit your image into gray scale. You should be able to see if the flower appears more three dimensional if your values are correct. If not, just make adjustments
Use References
If your goal is to paint more realistically, always use reference photos or have the flowers close by. This will help eliminate that left brain from taking over and telling you what you “think” you see and not what you “actually” see.  
I hope these tips will help in some small way in your own art journey!


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