Okay...Hi! So, I love painting sunflowers, but I'm always intimidated before I start. I love the pictures that I take of sunflowers in the sun, with all of the shadows and sun shining through the petals. SO glorious.
I had some late summer sunflowers that were falling off of their stalks in my garden, so I clipped them and turned it into a painting opportunity out on my deck. I loved the vase with the bubbles...I had a bit of trouble painting that, but I am happy with the result.
It was so funny because I wanted to paint the whole vase of flowers one day, but I was all out of paper! So, I painted half the vase on a smaller piece that I had lying around. It came out great! (not to sound humble or anything)
I will eventually paint the whole vase once I get my Christmas work out of the way for orders.
Anyhow, yes, here's some pics of the process. I think I've gotten it down to a science, FINALLY....yellow on yellow can be a bit tricky, at least for me.
Start out with your lightest yellows and build from there.
I masked the part of the vase where the light was shining through the glass. I also wanted to capture the bubbles in the glass of the vase. After taking off the masking fluid, I realized that it was too blotchy, so I masked it again and tried to make the "bubble" marks more even. After putting on another wash and taking the masking fluid off again, I DID have to resort to splattering gouache on it to get the final look that I desired.
I slowly kept building up the yellow and shadows on the petals. I did mask the veins of the sunflower leaves. Watch your spots of sunshine and paint around them. You can always soften the edges at the end.
I had to use a script brush to paint very carefully around all of the petals. I wanted the background to have what's called the bokeh effect, so when I was sketching the painting, I made sure to sketch out the areas in the background that had the light, out-of-focus circles. I slowly wet and painted my way around the page from one corner to the next. This was a bit time consuming, but worth it in the end. I used both a warm and a cool green with a little bit of burnt umber.
The second background wash is fun to paint. It really makes the sunflowers pop forwards. Again, after the first wash is dry, very carefully paint around the petals.
I had painted a coreopsis picture a while back where I masked the entire flower and painted the background easily and quickly, but I kind of like getting lost in the slower process of negative painting.
The colors of the above pictures are a little punchy b/c I took them with my phone. This photo (below) is more accurate.
So, at the very end, I spent time softening the edges of the petals and softening the bokeh effect with clean water and a brush. This can be time consuming, but it really makes a painting look finished and kind of gives the flowers a glow.
Happy Painting! :)
I'm a wife and mother of four kids. I homeschool, paint, run, and garden! I am always interested in digging truths out of Scripture. Here, you'll find my thoughts on art, adoption, gardening, mothering, homeschooling, books and whatever else is on my mind. Enjoy!
Creativity doesn't exist in a vacuum - like skepticism, it's a means, not an end. It cries out for a theme. To treat creativity as an end in itself is to assume godlike character for humans as though they could create ex nihilo. -J. Cheane