Renee Smith, of Rainy Day Vintage and RDV Prints, shares her secrets to paint flowers without stress while enjoying their inspirational beauty in the process.
Flowers were my life. Every day for 12 years I was surrounded by them, planting them, nurturing them, and combining them to create living art for others! So, when my greenhouse business had to shut down due to a family emergency, it was devastating. Being a person who needs contact with the earth to maintain balance, the choice to walk away was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made.
When I found a new kind of joy and healing in painting, I was sure that flowers would be my subject! We were kindred spirits, the flowers and me.
But the expectations of perfection ended in disaster. Every attempt to recreate the beautiful blooms I loved seemed to end in a hot mess. I just couldn’t seem to bring them to life on canvas. I almost gave up.
“Only when he no longer knows what he is doing, does the painter do good things.” Edgar Degas
I remember the day I stopped trying to paint what I saw and instead painted what I felt. I realized my love for flowers was more about how they made people smile. Suddenly, the flowers I created on canvas became more than an attempt to mimic what I could see; They became creations from my heart.
In nature, every bloom is randomly different, and it is often the misshaped blossoms that are the most beautiful. Embrace the art of imperfection! It is fun and will allow you to create gorgeous floral paintings that reveal your most authentic self!
Supplies to Paint Flowers
For this, you’ll need Paint Pixie’s Lit’l D brush and #8 round brush from The Turquoise Iris Collection of artist brushes, your fingers, a few of your favorite acrylic colors, and a mister bottle filled with water. For this one, I will use dark magenta, medium yellow, fluorescent red, white, light olive green, grass green, and veridian. I will be painting on a 10×10 canvas.
Put a generous amount of each color onto your palette of choice. For me, that’s my floor. Feel free to use a paper palette or a paper plate.
Flower Painting Steps
First, create your background. Place drops of your greens, yellow and white onto your canvas in random spots. Then mist the canvas with a light spray of water and with the Lit’l D brush start in one corner spreading your drops of paint until the whole canvas is covered. Don’t worry about blending the colors or hiding brush strokes.
Now you’re ready to paint your flowers! With your finger, scoop up some of each color, dark magenta, yellow, fluorescent red, and white. Then in quick motions, from top to bottom, swipe a straight line of paint onto the canvas, creating a repeating pattern to form a half-moon shape. Reload your finger as you go, making sure your colors show up in each swipe.
You want to keep a good amount of paint on your finger as you swipe. The beauty and personality of this flower are in the luscious texture and thickness you create as you layer the paint. Keeping it thick will allow your flower to really stand out on the canvas.
Repeat this swiping motion in an overlapping pattern, each time starting just below the top of the last layer. I usually do at least 3 layers or more.
If you do more than one flower, turn your canvas slightly when starting a new one so the angle of the flower is different. This will create a more pleasing feel to your bouquet.
Because you are using thick layers, you will need to let the flower dry before adding your stems and centers.
This is a good time to go out to the garden and soak in a little earth time. While my greenhouse days may be a thing of the past, I still love dirt beneath my fingernails. (Not to be confused with mud between my toes…hard pass on that!) These gardens have been waiting patiently for me to bring them back to life! Lilies, zinnias, daisies, and hydrangeas are just a few new plants living at RDV Haven!
By now the flowers are dry. You can add your stem. Using your round brush, add grass green in small “ x “ motions to the bottom of the flower, bringing them together to create the floral axis.
Then swirl your round brush into your choice of greens, making sure to get plenty of paint on your brush. Without trying to blend the colors, gently draw your stem using the very tip of your brush. You can keep it straight or twist your brush as you apply the colors. I imagine this as ribbons on a bunch of floating balloons. Reload your brush as many times as needed to create your stem. If you load your brush, you won’t need to apply much pressure.
To add your centers, use your #8 round brush and dip it into the light olive green. Study your flower and determine which way it is leaning.
Think about how your flowers in the garden find the light. Is your flower facing you, with a full center? Or is it tilted slightly away towards the sun, with petals hiding part of the center? Once you decide, then gently tap your green into the flower using the tip of your brush. How you add this will create the direction of the petals and the fullness of your flower.
Adding leaves is your final step. Load your greens and a little ocean green to your round brush and gently press the brush sideways onto the canvas.
Now you have a beautiful flower! I call these my Zinnias, but they can be whatever you want them to be. That’s the beauty of art!
Hope you enjoyed this technique! For more painting tips and ideas be sure to follow me on Facebook or join my group Where ART Grows!