let's start with the red rose
Cadmium Red, Cadmium Red Light, Permanent Rose, Alizarin Crimson, Viridian Green, Cadmium Yellow, Titanium White and Mixing White
underpainting gives you a roadmap
Underpaint this rose with Alizarin Crimson. Thin the paint with solvent and paint a very thin layer. Use Viridian for the leaves and stem.
Squint and look at your subject. You will see the light and dark values.
Paint with very thin paint. Put a thin second layer on the dark areas. The lightest areas will have almost no paint at all.
It's easy to make any necessary corrections in your drawing at this stage.
a clean brush dampened with solvent. Brush out what you want to change.
Wipe the remainder off with a paper towel, if desired.
Let the underpainting dry before moving on.
Underpaint the rose
Start painting the rose with Cadmium Red. If you have Cadmium Red Deep, that will also work.
Refer to the finished painting and apply the paint on the darkest areas of the painting.
When you squint looking at the rose, what areas look the darkest?
Go up to the Finished Painting
This time thin your paint with just a tiny bit of solvent, just enough to make the paint flow.
We will paint into this layer later, so keep it thin.
This is how to paint a rose - layer by layer.
Paint the darkest areas
darken the shadow areas
Mix Alizarin Crimson with your Viridian Green to make a dark color, almost black.
Take a small amount of this color with no solvent, paint it onto the shadow areas.
Use just a small amount of paint on your brush. Paint it on gently. If you stroke too hard, you will pull off the layer of red.
Gently blend out the line between the shadow and non-shadow areas.
If you can't seem to make it blend, the paint probably is too thick. Let it set a bit. Go on to the next step and blend later.
Paint the shadow areas
paint the light areas
Using Cadmium Red Light paint the light face of the petals, not the edges. You will see that Cad Red Light has an orange tint to it compared to Cadmium Red.
If you don't have Cad Red Light you can add orange or yellow to Cadmium Red to lighten it.
More about Mixing Colors
The edges and flipped over areas of the petals are painted lighter, yet.
Mix Permanent Pink with some Mixing White for the lightest petal edges.
Go back and blend the shadow areas again, if they still need softening. This is how to paint a rose that looks more realistic.
Paint the light areas
paint the background
Paint the background while the rose is still wet.
Paint the leaves and stem with a mix of Viridian, Cad Yellow, Mixing White and any red to dull the green. Add some of your previous shadow mix to make the shadow areas of the leaves and stem.
Use the colors from your palette the paint to the background. Use any of the reds, green or yellow mixed with Titanium White.
It's fun to put a variation of colors into the background for visual interest.
Then take a soft dry brush and gently blend the petal edges into the background. This is how to paint a rose, that doesn't look pasted on.
Finish with the background
painting a white rose
Paint a White Rose
Winsor Lemon*, Yellow Ochre, Dioxazine Purple, Cerulean Blue, Viridian Green and Titanium White
* Please note: I use Winsor Newton paints. They make the normal cadmium colors which are considered a health hazard. They also make the same colors without cadmium. These colors are labeled 'Winsor' before the name of the color, for example Winsor Lemon. This is how to paint a rose safely.
My favorite palette colors
start with an underpainting
Paint with very thin colors, thinned with solvent.
White colors almost always have some sort of tint to them. Very seldom will an artist use pure white out of the tube.
So, we do our underpainting with colors. Lemon, Yellow Ochre, Dioxazine, Cerulean and Viridian give us a starting point for our painting.
My reference had some green on the edge of a few petals, so I put Viridian on my palette.
As the painting continued, Viridian was painted out. So it is not necessary to include Viridian on your palette for this painting.
Let the underpainting dry before moving to the next step.
Underpaint the rose
start painting the rose
A tip on how to paint a rose, premix the paint colors with a palette knife, it will save time and paint.
If desired, you may add extra white or more color when you take the paint from the premixed pile.
Start laying in the colors
The petals have a warm color, yellow at their base. Farther out the petals change to a cooler blue.
The contrast of warm and cool colors give interest to the painting.
Place darker shadows under the edge of flipped over petals.
The lower petal has cool purple on the edge. Away from the edge, warm the white with yellow for color contrast.
Continue laying in the local colors. Separate the petals with shadows or a change of color.
The yellow at the base of one petal separates it from the cool blue of the next petal.
What is a warm or cool color?
You may use a variation of the cool colors, either blue, purple or green. As the artist, it's your choice.
Darker yellow in the center (Lemon and Ochre mixed) draws the viewer into the painting.
It got hard to distinguish between the edge of the rose and the background. So it was time to paint the background, before finishing the rose.
Continue painting the colors
how to paint a rose background
Paint the background before the rose dries.
Choose any background color from your palette, blue, purple or
green. Or even mix purple and yellow with white for a grey.
Paint a little thinner up close to the rose because you will be blending the edges of the rose into the background
Finish painting the rose, redefine edges and adjust colors. Since my background was blue, I adjusted some of the petal colors from blue toward grey.
Let the background paint sit for a short while. Then with a clean, dry brush gently blend the rose into the background. This is how to paint a rose with a soft look.
Finish your white rose
painting a multicolored rose
Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Yellow, Yellow Ochre,
Permanent Rose, Alizarin Crimson, Viridian Green, Titanium White and Mixing White
start with a roadmap
Do an underpainting with very thin paint that has been thinned with your solvent.
Notice each separate petal contrasts dark against light in the petal next to it.
Use yellow or light pink (Permanent Pink) on the light edges of the petals.
Mix Alizarin and Yellow Ochre for the dark areas.
Viridian and yellow make the leaves and stem.
Take a break and let the underpainting dry. I usually have lunch while it dries. This is how to paint a rose.
Underpaint the rose
paint the dark areas
Start again when the underpainting is dry.
Your painting looks like a rose. And you have a roadmap of what to paint where.
Mix Alizarin Crimson and Yellow Ochre for the darkest color on the rose.
Thin the paint just enough to make it easy to paint on.
It is important to paint in thin layers.
You don't want thick and gooey paint because you will be painting into this layer while it is still wet.
Paint the darkest color
paint the medium values
Mix Permanent Pink and Mixing White for the medium and light pinks. Alizarin and Mixing White make the darkest shadow pink.
Titanium White will be used in the background. Mixing Titanium with colors can give them a chalky appearance.
Mixing White used in moderation, lightens the colors without a chalky appearance.
Use the shadow pink where the petals attach. Also use it in the center of the bottom left petal to indicate a depression.
Use lighter pinks on the petal edges.
Softly blend the various colors together, so there is no line between the colors. This is how to paint a rose that looks more natural.
Paint the medium values
paint the light colors
Mix your light colors. Yellow and Permanent Pink make a clear orange. Yellow Ochre and Permanent Pink make the dusty oranges.
Use Titanium White with yellow or pink for the petal edges and the large center petal.
Softly blend the light colors into the colors already on the rose.
Paint, soften and blend the colors to give the fragile petal appearance.
Use the yellows, pinks and oranges however you want to make your
own individual rose.
That's how to paint a rose and have fun!
Paint the lightest values
paint the background
Paint the background around the rose before the rose paint dries.
Alizarin and Viridian with lots of white make a soft grey.
Softly blend the edges of the rose into the background with a dry brush. Then the rose won't look pasted on.
Paint the leaves and stem with Viridian mixed with Yellow Ochre for
a soft green. Add a little pink in some places for a rust color. This helps tie the flower and leaves together color-wise.
The center leaf has one side turned up to show the underside. Paint it with your green lightened with white.
People tell me this was their favorite rose.
Paint the background
what did we learn?
- Practice drawing roses
- Paint in thin layers
- Underpaint for a roadmap
- Separate the petals with light and dark values
- Warm and cool colors give interest and variety
- It's fun painting roses
you know how to paint a rose - now paint your favorites!