Painting Flowers in Pastels

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Pastels are a great medium to use to paint flowers, because the colors can be blended easily to create soft, dynamic petals. See how to illustrate a colorful flower with creative tips from an art instructor in this free video on using oil pastels.

Part of the Video Series: Oil Pastel Techniques
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Video Transcript

I'd like to show you how you can use oil pastels in painting flowers which are a great choice because there's so many colors to choose from and so much variety and style. I want to keep it simple and a little bit abstracted maybe. I've chosen a sunflower and so I've just sketched in a couple of circles here, to the center and which I'll come back to; but for the petals I want to show you a little bit about blending color for the petals. I might pick three here for starters and start with coloring following the length of the petal to show the texture and direction that it grows. I may fill in the three here for their golden tones that they'll have; but I want to separate one from the other by building up the pastel. So to put this one here hiding behind the other, I may add some darker tones where it's coming into the center of the flower and might; it also add some darker tones. So far I've chosen red, but I like golden tones of yellow ochre and I'll put it in all the shadow areas or areas where the petals branch up. And for some brightness I'll add some white so that now the petals begin to separate. You can see which petal is in front of the other. So I'll use that more at the edging; also to highlight it from the background. And then to blend it I can either use my finger to smooth it or I can build it up with some of the other tones. I go yellow; a brighter yellow than what I have before so it will soften what I had previously and blend it together. You can see by applying one main color over everything it tends to unify the tones and by using that yellow there's quite a lot of light that comes into the painting. So it's pretty much the first layer I'm putting in here, what you'd might call the under painting but it gives me an overall feeling of where I'm going with it. I, after I complete that part I may blend it slightly to see what I have; see what I like; see what I want to change. This for example if I want to make sure this petal is behind the other so I make sure that it's darker; I want to plant the petals into the center of the flower here. You can go add a little more brown towards the base, separate those petals one more time. And you can see some of it is thinner and thicker than the other, so that's just part of the process you need to thicken that way. You see there's too much streakiness and usually by adding a lighter color that will smooth it over. For something like flowers it's always best to draw from direct observation. You'll be able to see the rich variety of color and how the petals play one against the other. Here's an example so you can see how the petals were treated in one type of blending and how the center was built up in more of a circular way with some thicker application of paint to show the texture, of maybe the seeds at the center of the flower. The background was very very simple, but it wasn't just laid in with one tone of blue; there are several tones and some white applied to it to make it atmospheric. And to separate the green leaves from the background, you notice some highlights of yellow were applied so that the leaves would pop forward from the background. And to have the stem and the, and the stems from the leaves more three dimensional some yellow and white were applied down the center. So it were just darker green on the outside and lighter down the middle and that will cause or help given this 3D effect.

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