How to Paint Flowers

How to Paint Flowers like a Pro!

You might be wondering on how to paint flowers using oil as your medium to paint. Read on the article below and learn the step-by-step guide and tips.

There are different demonstrations discussed here which will start from the most basic to the most complex ideas. How to paint lilies, tulips, dahlia, roses, even a southern magnolia and bouquet of flowers are included.

You might have gone out and bought a huge fresh bouquet of different flowers from your favorite florist. I see that you might be excited about these flowers to paint. Your excitement is understandable and we are getting excited too. So, when you get home, you cut off their ends, place them in a vase arrange them to their proper positions and you might directly go to your shop or paint station and start painting.

How to Paint Flowers
How to Paint Flowers

By now, the excitement of painting these fresh flowers may have your heart racing with anticipation and vigor. To start, you should put them down on your favorite side table, position the vase of flowers properly based on your preferred angle and start working on your masterpiece but then suddenly, you stopped. How will you start painting?

As time has gone by, with so many tips being readily available online, I have learned to use a systematic approach in doing all my painting. I use a few tools that helps me produce some art-works that amazes me and other people even today after painting them.

So let’s get started, don’t worry about the bouquet, all you have to do is just keep that water mister close by and give the flowers a good spray every couple of minutes.

Painting flowers is one of the best subjects and I kept on painting them over and over. I LOVE painting flowers. It holds a special place in my heart.

Steps to Get Started on How to Paint Flowers 

How to Paint Flowers

The very first tip is to go and check your vase of flowers and select one of 3 focal points or areas that catches your attention the most.

Get your digital camera and start taking some perfect shots. You need to take shots from different angles. Take shots from above the table edge. Straight on to the table edge, and also take some shots below the table edge.

And then you need to adjust your lighting from the ¾ position or 3/4 of the subject illuminated from the left into almost 90 degrees to the subject on the left.

After doing some adjustments on the lighting, you may now again take pictures from the top side lowering your camera until you’re below the table edge.

Finally, you need to move the lighting in order to illuminate from above the flowers and take several shots. Doing this will give you a lot of perfectly great painting ideas that you can use as basis for your paintings.

Now, go about transferring those images to your canvas.

From this point, you will follow the Flemish Technique in order to complete your painting. Remember that you should start with your pencil drawing. An then the ink overlay.

The imprimatura amber under-layers, the color layers, and finishing layer must be orserved.

Having said all that, let us discuss some basics on how to paint flowers rules for you to think about before you really get started.

  • The image below shows the brown underpainting. With the gray under-painting about half-way finished. In this composition, I wanted to mirror the flow of the drape with the spotlight on the back wall.
  • A little closeup of the dead layer or gray underpainting. No texture, just some details and focus on modeling the petals and leaves.
  • A completed bouquet of flowers using the flemish technique.

While viewing your beautiful bouquet in front of you, remember these points:

  • Learn to see the underlying structure of your flowers.
  • Continue to arrange them into something pleasing to you and that conforms to your “golden rule” template.
  • Going back to these basic underlying structures, learning how to paint flowers can be kept simple.

Flowers often Conform these 4 basic Shapes

The cone-shaped flower.

Flower blossoms that grow on a long, single stem buds just like that of like Lilies, Lilacs, and Hyacinths are conical in shape. Some beautiful flowers have many mini-blossoms that are cone-shaped but their entire mass combined will form a sphere.

The disk-shaped.

A good sample is the Daisy. Just remember a tea saucer that is round and the petals will radiate from the center of the saucer. If you view it on an angle, the saucer then becomes elliptical. An exception to this rule would be closed or early partially opened disk-shaped blossom. It will tend to be coned 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 petals (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 easily.

Combination shape.

This means a combination of the 1st three shapes in one single flower.
For example, Daffodil flowers. 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 petals, veins, and color. Break it down to its fundamental shapes, (disks, cones, spheres or a combination). This is super important when it comes to shadows, half shadows, and basic modeling of the flower.

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.

Learning how to paint flowers is not difficult at all!

Speaking of three dimensional, let’s talk a little about form, Illusionist 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 petals on those back blossoms, they need to recede into the back of the picture plain anyway.

How to paint flowers in close up

How to Paint Flowers
how to paint flowers

There’s a lot of technique involved in an oil painting. Some flowers just plain got a lot of fine details just like the carnation flower. So to get around some of that, select only about a 1 inch square of the blossom and get that right on, focus on it then allow for a slight blur to the rest.

Hopefully, You have learned some helpful tips on how to paint flowers today. You now have a few tools in your in order to start with your task of painting a full bouquet of flowers for your next painting project.

Interested in a bit more concerning flower painting and flower arranging with an artistic eye. Click here for more information and tips about painting.

Always remember to break it down into small steps. You must visualize the basic geometric shapes of the blossoms first. Then stick to the rules of depicting form within each of those blossoms. And finally use the Flemish technique, and you too will know how to paint flowers like a pro!






One response to “How to Paint Flowers like a Pro!”

  1. Diksha Deshmukh Avatar
    Diksha Deshmukh

    How can I buy the painting?

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