How to Paint a Rose – Step No. 2

Brushwork on Rose PetalsWe are working on painting a rose in watercolor.

Take a look at the previous post if you would like to see this lesson from the beginning.

I am working around the rose petals with tiny washes of three pigments, a yellow, a pink, and a cool red for the shadows.

I have to work around, and around so that one petal may dry before I paint the one right next to it. If the wet edges touch they will run together. Notice that there are cool (dark red, plum) and warm areas (light pink and golden). This is because when the light hits the different edges of the petals it bounces around and casts different hues – the lighter side, facing the light source, will have warmer colors including in the shadows, and the side that faces away from the light source will contain much cooler colors, not just darker colors. Understanding this helps to build a believable painting.

Nearly Finish Rose PetalsThe rose is nearly completed at this point. Now that most of the petals are completed, I can see how the colors, values (lights and darks), and shapes work to create the illusion of a three-dimensional flower. Notice that I left tiny white areas at the tops of some of the petals. I want to leave these so that the edges between petals are shiny, clear and vivid. These little white areas help the painting to sparkle, and also help to set off the darker shadows just under the edges of the petal’s white edge.

In the next post I will start with the leaves around the flower! Let me know what you think, I love hearing from you!

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