Art Tutorials, Painting

Painting pattern on a petal

Hi everyone,

Have you ever tried painting a pattern on a petal? It can be tricky… If painted too wet, it spreads too much and the pattern disappears, melting into a blotchy mess of colours (which actually sounds rather nice…). If painted too dry, it stands out too much and looks like it’s painted on top of the petal (which is exactly what it is), without any connection with the petal’s structure and texture. And if it’s in the wrong place, it will show straight away and just look wrong to everyone looking at it, even if they have never seen that flower before. They wont’ take your word for it either: they will rapidly jump to the conclusion that you got it wrong, and they’ll be right…

Rosa Mundi petal

There is a video further down the page in which I demonstrate painting a stripe pattern on a full rose petal tutorial. Here are a few tips:

  • Don’t paint wet-in-wet, as there would be too much spread and the pattern wouldn’t be clear. (You know how much I love to paint wet-in-wet, so it’s very rarely that I advise not to… this is one of the few exceptions…)
  • Map out the pattern before you go all in with strong colour. Using a very diluted pool of colour, paint the pattern very faintly all over. Once it is done, take time to observe your subject some more and assess your painting. If something looks off, it won’t be too hard to lift and correct, as the pattern at this stage is very faint
  • Use the structure and texture of the petal to guide you. For example, paint your first stripe along the central vein, and then along the secondary veins
  • Once the pattern is correctly in place, you can go in with stronger colour
  • Soften the edges of your stripes, dots, blotches, check pattern, or whatever pattern you are painting. Simply use a soft, clean damp brush and run it along the edges of the pattern gently, teasing out these edges and blending them into the texture of the petal
  • Keep building up the colour until the pattern is strong enough
  • Don’t forget that highlights and shadows also affect the pattern

The video below is from my free YouTube channel, Atelier Sandrine Maugy. I also did a longer, ad-free version for Patreon (including painting the veins), which is only available to Patreon subscribers. Please click here for more info about my Patreon teaching site. (The link will open a new window.)

Happy Painting!

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