Painting roses… a progression in photos

I’ve been on a painting kick lately.  I thought it would be fun to show the progression of a painting.  I’m not a trained artist.  I have not taken art classes since high school (in retrospect, I sure wish my major in college had been art and not the extremely useful [sarcasm] Political Science.  But I digress).  Actually, I did take a china painting class when I was in my 20s because I was born an old lady.  But other than that, I have no basis or training for art at all, so please, all you classically trained artists, be gentle with me!  I am positive I’m not doing this the “right” way, because I do not know what the “right” way is!  I paint with acrylics.  I would love to learn to paint with oils, but I just don’t have time for that right now.  This is a big canvas, it’s 2 feet wide.  I painted it for my living room.  It was so much fun!  All of the photos are clickable to enlarge, in case you want to see more detail.  Sorry about the watermark being right in the middle of the photo.  Lately, I’ve had lots of problems with people taking my photos to use without crediting me.  I have even had people crop off the watermarks that I usually put in the bottom corner to keep from being a distraction.  I don’t mind if you share my photos, but please leave the watermark and credit me with a link to my site!  The above photo is the finished product, but it started out like this:

A basic background of blended greys and greens.  I made it centered because I wanted a loose bunch of flowers sort of floating in the middle here.  I also put some blobs of pale pink to serve as place-savers for the roses.  I use jar lids and such to place on the background until I am happy with the placement, then I put the blobs so I will remember.


Starting to resemble flowers. I start by deciding which direction they’ll face, then place the centers and start surrounding it with the base that will become petals. These are English roses, and they have a quartered center, which I love. They’re a less formal, sort of loose and blousey rose. I like them way better than a stiff, long stemmed tea rose.

Bummer that it’s blurry, but you can still make out that I added more layers of highlights to the roses and deepened the center colors a little.

Now the roses are really popping. More highlights.

Beginning to place the rough bases of leaves.

The leaves looked too small for the large canvas before, so enlarged them and added some deeper color. Also, you see the beginning of a little bud and stems.

Another layer on the leaves, still looking pretty flat and rough. I just keep layering until I like them.

A little more highlights and lowlights. It’s all about light and shadow for making things not look so flat. I used to get very caught up in making the leaves super detailed and real looking, but I have moved more towards and impressionistic, looser feel. I still want to loosen up even more, leaves can look stiff easily. I also added some darker area to the bottom right corner and blended it out to anchor it and give the impression of some depth and shadow.

Finally, I decided the painting was too washed out with the pale roses, so I added more color. Think I’m done now.

5 Responses to Painting roses… a progression in photos

  1. Heather says:

    This is beautiful, Holly! I love to see how other artists go about building a painting. And you make such beautiful roses!

  2. just lovely!!! keep on painting roses!!

  3. Jodi says:

    Absolutely gorgeous !!

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