Posted on Tue 25 Jun 2013
Follow Donna Dewberry as she shows how to use simple brush strokes to paint a variety of petal shapes for painting flowers.
Double-load a flat brush. Start on the chisel edge, touch, and lean toward the fl at side of the brush. Use quick zigzagging motions to create the jagged edge of the petal.
TEARDROP PETAL STROKE
1. Start on the chisel edge. Press down so the bristles bend in the direction shown. Press down more and pivot the red edge of the brush. Don’t slide the bristles—just pivot.
2. Lift back up to the chisel and slide to a point.
LAYERING A FIVE-PETAL FLOWER
1. A five-petal flower is a series of teardrop strokes all started from the same center. To layer them, start with a cluster of three or four teardrop strokes.
2. Then paint a complete five-petal flower overlapping the first set of strokes. To make a large cluster for hydrangea blossoms, continue painting three-, four- and five-petal florets that overlap each other.
POINTED SINGLE-STROKE PETAL
1. Double-load a flat brush. Start at the base of the petal, lean down on the chisel and start sliding up towards the tip.
2. As you stand back up on the chisel, twist the brush in whichever direction you want the petal to turn.
3. This is how a flower made up of long, pointed petals looks. This is a great stroke for making orchids or lilies or any flower with long, slender petals that radiate out from the center.
PETALS WITH A RUFFLED EDGE
1. Petals with a ruffled side edge are found in many different flowers such as irises, parrot tulips, and orchids. To begin, double-load a flat brush with your two petal colors. Start at the base of the petal, push down on the bristles and wiggle up.
2. Stop wiggling the brush as you near the tip. Slide smoothly the rest of the way to the tip and lift back up to the chisel edge. This will give the tip its pointed shape.
3. Without turning or lifting your brush from the surface, reverse the direction of the bristles and begin leaning down on them. Compare the position of the bristles in this photo with the bristles in Step 2.
4. Apply more pressure on the brush as you start to slide smoothly back down to the base of the petal.
5. Lift back up to the chisel edge to end the stroke at the base of the petal. Notice that the darker side of the brush is in the same position as it was when you started the stroke.
Here’s a quick tip for adding interest to a petal or leaf. Outline one side of it with a darker shade. Load a script liner with inky paint and pull a smooth line following the shape from base to tip, lifting off to come to a point.
PETALS WITH RUFFLED TOP EDGES
1. Double-load a flat with Yellow Ochre and Wicker White. Start on the chisel and wiggle out a few times to paint a single petal.
2. Slide back to the pointed base and lift back up to the chisel.
3. Paint a series of ruffled-edge petals all radiating outward from a center point. Turn your surface to make painting easier.
4. Dot the center with Fresh Foliage on the tip end of the brush handle.
TRUMPET FLOWER PETALS
1. Begin by painting the base of the trumpet. Double-load a flat brush. Keeping the darker side of the brush to the outside, stroke upward toward the base of the trumpet, watching the outer edge as you stroke.
2. Pivot the brush at the base of the trumpet and slide back down the other side. Lift back up to the chisel. Don’t worry about filling in the center—it will be covered by the next strokes.
3. Double-load your fl at brush again with the same colors, but this time turn the brush so the lighter side is to the outside edge. Add the upper part of the ruffled opening with a series of little shell strokes.
4. Continue with little shell strokes for the lower part of the ruffled opening, turning your work so it’s easier to stroke and keeping the lighter side of the brush to the outside edge.
5. To shade and deepen the throat of the trumpet, load a flat brush with floating medium, then side-load into your darker paint color. Start your stroke on the left and pull across to the right side, creating a wavy shape that is pointed on both sides and wider in the middle.
6. Using the chisel edge of the same brush, pull little streaks out from the shading onto the lower part of the ruffled petals. Keep the upper edge of the shaded area sharp and distinct to create the illusion of depth to the trumpet.
1. Float-shading is an easy way to give shape and dimension to your flower petals. I use this technique when painting magnolia blossoms and other cupped flower petals. Let your petals dry, then load a flat brush with floating medium and side-load into Burnt Umber. With the Burnt Umber side of the brush next to the edge of the petal, paint along the inside edge as shown. This gives the effect of the petal’s edge turning inward.
2. To separate the upper petal from the lower one, load a flat brush with floating medium and side-load into Burnt Umber. With the Burnt Umber side of the brush next to the outside edge of the lower petal, paint along the petal’s edge as shown. Continue shading all around the petal to separate it from the background.
3. Float-shade around the left side of the back petal to separate it from the background. Using the same brush, pull little chisel-edge streaks upward from the base of the petal to deepen the shading within.
4. The key to successful float-shading is to load your brush properly and to follow along the edges of the petal or leaf you are shading. If your shading seems too dark, you can always pick up more floating medium on your brush and soften the shading.
The above exercises are taken from Donna's book, Essential Guide to Flower and Landscape Painting, published by North Light Books.
Watch as Donna paints a sunflower using her one-stroke painting techniques