So, you've gone out and bought a huge fresh bouquet from your favorite florist. You're really pumped up and excited by the time you get them home. You cut off their ends under water, place them in the vase and head out to the studio.
By now the excitement of painting these beauties have your heart racing with anticipation. You set them down on your favorite side table, turn on your clip on spot light and adjust it just right. You then view the start of your creation and drink in the gorgeousness that sits before you,...
but then suddenly, you freeze.
All these flowers, all these pedals, all these stems and leaves, on no!
You feel the first wave of fear and anxiety creeping in.
Your breath becomes short and shallow.
How could you have even thought of trying to tackle such a difficult painting? You worry that they're already wilting from the heat of the lamp. They appear to begin to droop and fade right before your eyes!......
Relax, it's just a story..
Take a deep breath, in with the good....out with the bad...Now, read on and enjoy!
I will explain to you in an easily understood approach on how to eat this elephant. One little bite at a time!
So lets get started, and don't worry about the bouquet, just keep that water mister close by and every few minutes give 'em a good spray and we'll start how to paint flowers like you mean it.
While viewing your beautiful bouquet in front of you, remember to:
* Learn to see the underlying structure of your flowers. Each blossom will have a basic structure!
Train yourself to see these underlying structures, flowers will usually conform to 4 basic shapes!
The disk shaped, like the Daisy. Just remember a tea saucer that is round and the pedals will radiate from the center of the saucer. When viewed on an angle, the saucer then becomes elliptical. An exception to this rule would be the closed or early partially opened disk-shaped blossom. It will tend to be coned shaped.
The cone-shaped flower. Blossoms that grow on a long, single stem, (like Lilies, Lilacs, Hyacinth's) are conical in shape. Some flowers have many mini-blossoms that are cone shaped but their entire mass combined will form a sphere.
Sphere-shaped, these are my favorites, why? Because the rose is part of this group, as are peonies, carnations and hydrangeas. When viewing these blossoms, most will have a multitude of pedals (each an individual treasure) but their collective groupings will form a beautiful sphere. Lots of artists are afraid to attempt them, but stick with me for some tricks to make them a little more easy.
Your largest group will be the combination shape (combination of the 1st three shapes in one single flower). Lets look at the Daffodil. The daffodil has elements of the disk shape at its base, and the inverted cone shape protruding out of the base like a trumpet. All in one bloom!
So, from here on out, don't just look at your flowers as a mass of pedals, veins, and color. Break it down to its fundamental shapes, (disks, cones, spheres or a combination). Think of the blossom in its basic geometric form having a three dimensional depth and it will remove some of that fear to tackle these babies.
Speaking of three dimensional, let's talk a little about form, Illusionist Form. Within each of these shapes will be form. Each blossom will have its' own individual highlight, main light, half shadow, shadow, reflection, cast shadow.
Let's talk about the bouquet as a whole now.
Flowers in the back of the arrangement will have less intensity, more grey, less focus and sharpness. Flowers at the front of the arrangement will have more color, intensity and sharpness. Your focal blossoms will have the highest color intensity, sharpness and details. So don't sweat trying to copy each and every pedals on those back blossoms, they need to recede into the back of the picture plain anyway.
Some flowers just plain got a lot of fine details (carnations) so to get around some of that, select only about a 1 inch square of the blossom and get that right on, then allow for a slight blur to the rest. The human brain will fill in the blanks and your viewer will still understand what you are depicting.
Hopefully, you now have a few tools in your bag to tackle the task of a full bouquet of flowers for your next painting project.
Just remember, break it down to small steps. Visualize the basic geometric shapes of the blossoms. Stick to the rules of depicting form within each of those blossoms. Use the Flemish technique, and you too will know how to paint flowers like you mean it!