Painting roses, as you've probably found out,
takes a lot of practice so the first tip is - don't expect to learn
If you have just started decorative
painting and have gone for that first rose project
class and did not manage
like a rose, DON'T WORRY - you're not alone! And don't feel bad
as you look at your teacher stroking in that rose so effortlessly.
You too can paint like her. It just takes the right tools, the
right techniques and practise, practise, practise.
First things first...which rose to paint?
Looking through any decorative painting book
or folk art magazine, you will find that there are many different
types of roses you can paint, and certainly there are many different
ways of painting them.
The first thing you need to do is to master
the basic stroke rose. From there you can start varying the colours,
paint additional petals, vary the way you use the brush and so
on. Pretty soon, you will be able to create your very own rose.
These basic beginner "folksy" stroke roses were painted using
a No: 8 flat brush.
And you must not worry if your rose "doesn't look right" in the beginning! It WILL change as you paint more. It takes practice, practice and more practice. Your rose will keep changing as you experiment and you will see your own style start to develop as you gain more and more confidence. BUT in taking that first step to learn how to paint roses, you must be willing to start with a very basic rose.
Tools and materials
A good brush - a good brush is very,
very necessary to get a good start. A bad brush will only frustrate
you. Brushes that have developed a "moustache" or which
have dried paint where the hairs meet the ferrule will not help
you when you're trying to learn and master the strokes.
A flat brush or an angle brush? -
you can paint beautiful roses with a synthetic flat
an angle brush. Some people find it easier to learn with the
brush and others learn to paint the rose perfectly with
an angle brush. Different techniques call for different brushes.
on your instructor or the pattern you are following.
There are many different ways of painting roses but
the structure is basically the same. These roses were painted with
an angle brush.
A big brush or a smaller brush? -
if using a flat brush you should start learning with a no: 8
If you are learning with an angle brush, a 3/8" is a good
place to start. You will be tempted to think that its easier to
paint stroke roses with a smaller brush as you can't imagine how
a no: 8 flat or 3/8" angle can paint such a dainty rose.
Don't be fooled - a bigger brush is actually easier to paint
it has more width to double load.
A well-prepared wet pallette - a wet
pallette is absolutely necessary to prevent acrylic paint from
drying up as you are painting but if your wet pallette has too
much water in the sponge, your paint will gain more and more moisture
as you go along and it will be too thin for rose painting. Make
sure your wet pallette is properly set up before you start practising
Not streaky, lumpy paint - if your
acrylic paint comes out in lumps or streaks as you squeeze them
onto your pallette, I suggest you discard them for rose painting
as paint with the proper consistency is crucial in helping you
get your strokes looking right. Your paint should be the consistency
of double cream.
A surface to practise on - a rectangular
A4 piece of MDF basecoated black or cream is a good surface to
practise your strokes
on. When you run out of space, basecoat it all over again and
keep practising. Black paper is fine too for practising but you
find that since its an absorbent surface, you need to reload
your brush more frequently. You'll also find that when you do
to paint on your woodpiece that its quite different from painting
on paper. Its best therefore to practise on an MDF or wooden
practise board from the beginning.
Getting the basic technique right
load correctly - the
basic stroke rose is painted using the double-loading
technique as this gives the 3-dimensional effect.
Start with two colours like Plum Pink and Warm White - this will
give you the basic
Squeeze only a bit of paint at a time onto
your pallette so that you only use what you need. This ensures
you always have fresh paint.
Clean your brush in water and pat on a paper
towel to remove excess water. Ensure the brush is nice and flat.
Place the hairs lightly between your left thumb and index finger
to lightly smooth it - you also get to feel if the brush is too
moist or not. If it still has too much water, pat on a paper towel
Dip one corner of the flat brush (the heel if
you are using an angle brush) to pick up the pink paint and the
other corner (the toe if
you are using an angle brush) into the white - not too much and
not too little. Stroke the loaded brush towards you, pressing the
brush down towards the surface of the pallette paper, tile or wet
pallette you are using for blending so that the hairs of the brush
open - you are pushing the paint into the brush hairs. Do this
a few times, try five. Then flip the brush over and repeat in another
part of the pallette. Repeat the process.
Look at the brush and see if you have too
much paint or too little. Is the brush still flat? Is there paint
building up at the ferrule? Perhaps you have too much paint. If
you have too much paint, wipe the brush and start over. If you
wash the brush, make sure you pat it on the paper towel to remove
Practice the petal strokes many many times
using this double loaded brush. Your strokes should have the pink
on one side of the stroke getting lighter and lighter towards the
centre with the white at the other side of the stroke.
Always paint with the white paint facing the
edge of the petal you are painting. Practise painting the stroke
both ways - to the right and to the left. Also practise the crescent
stroke, the "U" stroke and the "S" stroke.
Keep reloading the brush and follow the loading tips each time.
Practise all the strokes over and over until
you know you are getting the strokes right. If you can't get your
strokes right you can't get your rose right.
Understand the placement of rose petals
Its very tempting to just look at the rose
step-sheet you have and just paint the strokes where you see them
- but its much more effective to understand what each stroke represents
and how they help to form the rose.
You can achieve this by studying the rose
you are trying to paint. Look at it carefully and examine how each
stroke is placed. Which stroke is painted first? Is it a front
petal or one at the back? Try to understand why subsequent petal
strokes are smaller than the previous one.
Look at the rose in total - where are the
lightest parts and where are the darkest parts? This helps you
understand why you paint the white part of the comma stroke away
from you. It also helps you figure out where to add more white
paint to your brush to give more emphasis to the highlight.
Once you're confident with your brush strokes,
practise painting the rose, consciously realising that each stroke
is a petal and that as you paint each stroke, you are forming the