Sunday, May 22, 2011

Poppies Painting Tutorial

Posted by: Paulette
This painting was such an easy knock off. I thought I'd share with you how I did it!
I was really lucky and found a used canvas at the thrift store for $1It was huge, and just the right size for my mantle. You may have to purchase a canvas, or you can do this straight onto a piece of plywood. Since my canvas already had an UGLY painting on it, I gave it two coats of gesso. You can find this at art supply stores like Hobby Lobby.
After that was dry I gathered my other materials:
Craft paints, paint brushes, gesso
Not pictures above is the white paint I used. I didn't end up using the black or the green. All of the colors were mixed from the primary colors. However, If you would prefer to use colors that are already bottled and pre-mixed, you can do that too.
I'll be doing this demonstration on a piece of white copier paper, and so the amounts of mixed paint didn't have to be a lot. When I did the large painting, I used coffee mugs to mix my paint in. If you use oils or acrylics, your paint will go a lot further, and your palette will look a bit like mine.
Throughout the demonstration I will show you my palette, so that you can get an idea of how I mixed the paints.
Next, I plotted out my painting. Since I already had the Ballard painting to copy, I guesstimated that the design was in thirds. Top, center and bottom of the canvas. Then I looked at how the poppies were arranged in a sort of triangle, ending at the center third. Using pencil, I plotted this onto the canvas.

I then added some trees and the little house in the center left part of the drawing. I added the little house to make it "mine." And I didn't copy the exact placement of each tree.

Then I started mixing my paints to block in the colors. Cream and blue paint made a very light blue, that went above the hills. While the paint was still wet on the canvas, I added a little more of the dark blue, and scrubbed it into the light blue.
 Here you can see my palette, and how I mixed the two blues. Later you'll be adding the clouds, but after the paint has dried. You'll want to use a fairly large brush for blocking in the background colors.
Continue blocking in the colors; the oranges, yellows and greens.
Use the paint that you've already mixed to make the different greens. When you're finished blocking in the colors, let the canvas dry.

If you're like me, you're probably thinking that this looks really ugly right about now. Don't worry. It gets better.
When the background is dry, you're ready to start adding in the details.
This next part is all about dabbing and scribbling with the paint. You don't need to paint in each individual leaf. This type of painting is impressionist. Use lots of different shades of one color. Dip half your brush into green and the other half into yellow. Or half into green and the other half into red. It will all blend together and give that 3-D effect. Use a scruffy brush, and pounce it on the page.
Using the same scruffy brush and a very light touch, paint grass, and stems. Longer in the front, shorter as you move up the canvas. Use more than 1 color of green. I also added some clouds at this point. Using a little cream on the scruffy brush. I dragged the paint from the center of the cloud to each side. The I added just a touch of the red and blended it in really well. This was not part of the original painting. It had a very yellow sky, but I wanted some more contrast, and so made my sky blue. Since it's your painting, you can do whatever you want.

This next part may surprise you. Mix a purple with red and blue, and add a little yellow to it and now you have brown! Use this brown to sketch in the trunks of the trees. Remember to add a few branches in the crown of the tree peeking out.
This next part is the most fun, I think. The poppies! Still using your scruffy brush, that's been mostly cleaned off, dip part into red and part into that brown you made for the trunk. The two colors will mix together on the canvas giving the illusion of shadow in the flowers. Remember things that are closer to you will appear larger. So make the poppies in the center of the canvas the smallest.
This is what my palette looks like now. What a mess!

Use a bit of white and a bit of light green and maybe a little black for the center of the poppies, using a round brush. This is the one that has the bristles that some to a point, and give you more control. The poppies closest to you will have the most detail, but you still don't have to "draw" in the centers, just dab in the color.

Using a flat brush, load it with a bit of light blue paint, and block in the side of the house. Use cream for the front of the house and a rusty brown for the roof. If you want you can add some highlights to the roof by adding a bit of cream to the rust. I used a dark brown for windows. And I added some chimneys using the cream and brown paints. (When I was researching cottages, I found a picture to work from.)
Then add in your little trees and bushes around the house. Any imperfections will disappear.
Now sign your masterpiece and you're done!
My original painting above the mantle.