How to Paint a Rose with Acrylic

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Roses are one of the most popular flowers because it is a symbol of love and beauty. Roses are widely known gift ideas in a bouquet, especially women. For a painter, roses can be a challenge, they are not as easy to paint, let’s admit it.

Here’s How to Paint a Rose with Acrylic

How to Paint a Rose with Acrylic
beautiful acrylic rose painting

Today we will learn the secrets on how to paint a rose with acrylic paints realistically. We have many goals in this lesson, together we will be able to learn the following details:

  • How to make soft and dainty looking rose petals
  • How to create depth in the flower
  • Proper background-color
  • How to make it look realistic

Initially, we need to paint the outlines of the background. We do this by sketching out the rose outline onto the canvass. Select the size of the canvass and the size of the rose flower that you want to paint.

After sketching the outlines, clear cover to mask off the rose and the stem. Doing so will allow you to quickly paint the background.  Note on the background to use three variations of the sap green. This will mix the mid-tone, highlight, and shadow color. To mix these colors, add Raw Umber to the Sap Green for the shadow color. Cadmium Yellow to the Sap Green for the highlight color. Start off with the dark mix blocking it in solid at the bottom of the canvas and then gradually paint more dappled towards the top.

How to Paint a Rose With Acrylic Mid-tone Color

How to Paint a Rose with Acrylic
rose acrylic painting

Add the mid-tone Sap Green dappled over the entire background. Add some highlights to the background using the lightest mixture mostly in the top area of the canvas with less and fewer patches as you progress downward. Soften all the patches by gently blending adjacent colors into each other. With the background complete, dry it using a hairdryer and remove the mask.

Tonal Colors for the Petals

For pink roses, use Magenta as the base color and then add Titanium White to get the lighter colors that you desire. The lighter you want the color, then you need to add more white on Magenta.

If you want shadows or reflections on the petals, add Sap Green to the Magenta as that is its a complementary color. Add touches of yellow and orange where you see them required.

How to Paint a Rose with Acrylic: Back Petals First

How to Paint a Rose with Acrylic
beautiful rose acrylic painting

When painting a rose always start with the back petals and then gradually work your way forward. Doing so will automatically get the overlapping effect correctly. The most difficult part of painting roses is judging the correct tonal value. You can be way off on your colors, but if you get the tonal values correct then you will end up with a beautiful flower full of depth and dimension.

Take note that when you start painting the flower even if you are painting on a white canvas, the petals you are painting will often look darker than they actually are. So you must always continue to look and compare as you paint. If you have a reference photo, always check and compare it with it from your painting. The secret is to stop and fix the total value of the acrylic painting – either to go lighter or darker. By the time that you have completed all your petals, all the tonal values will be completely off making the rose look more realistic.

Paint One Petal At a Time

The secret to painting a beautiful rose is to paint one petal at a time. Think of it as a random shape with a small manageable bit size of shading. Select a color that you want on the inside of the petal shape, then lay down another color, blend them to achieve the perfect color that you like. Blend them using a soft-haired acrylic brush. You may use a soft filbert brush on this task.

Take note that in painting roses, there is a change in tonal value on each curl or curves on the petals. Make sure that you focus on this part otherwise your painting will look flat and not realistic. If you are able to achieve a perfect outside the rose, then you may start working on the inside parts of the rose petals.

After painting in the detail of the petal, look at the petal in relation to the surrounding petals. If there are any petals next to it that are casting a shadow onto the current one, check the initial shadings and colors to ensure that the shadow is correct. Painting the shadows correctly are critical as they indicate the height of one petal off the other. Shadows make it look lively!

When painting roses, you will notice that the outside edges of the rose petals will be light then fade darker towards the center of the flower. It casts deeper and deeper using shadows. Make sure that you remember this when painting roses.

How to Paint a Rose with Acrylic
closeup rose painting

Painting the Thicknesses of the Petals

Lastly on the edge, lookout for a super-thin line indicating the thickness of the petal. As you paint you have to keep trusting yourself because you will often only see the full effect of your hard work once the final petal has been painted and there is no more white canvas to confuse your eye. When the last petal has been painted, stand back and check your tonal values from normal viewing distance and adjust if required.

Stems and Leaves

How to Paint a Rose with Acrylic
painting rose leaves and stems

For the leaves and stem, block them in dark using a mixture of Sap Green and Alizarin Crimson. Add Titanium White and a touch of Cadmium Yellow to this mixture to get the highlight color. Add basic shadings to the leaves and stem. Remember that that rose flower itself is the center of the painting and not the leaves, so do not overpower in colors for the leaves.

So by this time, you shoud have learned the basics in painting roses with acrylic paints. If you want to learn more tips in painting flowers, check out our blog and you will find a lot of helpful tips in painting.

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