Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Wedding Flowers - A Custom Oil Painting Part 1

An oil painting of the beautiful flowers at a woman's wedding is a wonderful idea for an anniversary gift - especially if the flowers are the bride's favorites! They will remind her of her happy day for many years to come.

Such a request came in recently. The flowers and outdoor setting in the photo the client sent were so beautiful that I looked forward to painting them. I'll show you how I go about it below.

Because the painting is a portrait of the floral arrangement, I want to be sure it is drawn and painted as accurately as possible. So I draw a pencil grid on the canvas and also on a photo copy of the image.  This way I can scale up the drawing to fit the 18 x 14 inch canvas by finding where the major flowers are on the grid. It also helps with drawing the decorative planter:


Once the drawing is roughly blocked in, I use thin washes of oil paint to identify the darkest areas. This helps me see the composition clearly, identifies the focal point and serves as a guide while I'm painting.


I like to start a painting at the top and at the area farthest away visually. This will be a vague suggestion of background trees. I leave the canvas white where stems and flowers will be just so I can remember where they are:


Then I continue downwards, still working on the background. I keep everything soft because the foreground will be very busy with detail:


The steps and the foreground are paved with brick. So I paint these with various colors you might find in bricks:


Then I begin to paint some details in the steps and horizontal lines in the foreground. If you look carefully, I have painted the back of each step and each level area a bluer tone. This helps to make them lay down flat (visually):


When it comes to the vertical lines to make the brick pavers, it could be easy to get the perspective wrong and then the bricks will not seem to lie flat.

So I make a "vanishing point" toward which all the vertical lines lead. I put this point on a piece of tape at the top of my easel:


Then, when I make the vertical lines for the bricks, I check them with a straight edge to be sure their angle leads to the vanishing point:


With a lighter color, I add a highlight to one side of each brick. This gives them some dimension:


There is a brick wall behind the planter. I paint this darker since it is a vertical surface and does not receive as much light as the horizontal surfaces:


Ivy grows on the wall and through the spaces between the bricks:



Once the ivy is painted, I begin to paint the pot. To see the rest of this painting demo, click here: Wedding Flowers Custom Oil Painting Part 2





I'm happy to take custom orders. Please contact me for a custom painting of your pet, home, garden, grandkids, favorite vacation spot or whatever your heart desires.
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