Learn How to Paint Flowers! Create White Abstract Peonies with Acrylic Paint: Flower Painting Class | Elle Byers | Skillshare

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Learn How to Paint Flowers! Create White Abstract Peonies with Acrylic Paint: Flower Painting Class

teacher avatar Elle Byers, Artist and Teacher

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (43m)
    • 1. Intro to Peonies

    • 2. Supplies and Setup

    • 3. First Layer

    • 4. Flowers Layer 1

    • 5. Greenery Layer 2

    • 6. Flowers Layer 2

    • 7. Final Layer - Add Details

    • 8. Final Tips

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About This Class

How to Paint Flowers!

Welcome to my second Skillshare class!  Acrylic painting can be easy and fun!  This class is for anyone who wants to learn how to paint abstract flowers using acrylic paints.  In this class I walk you through my painting process step by step.  I start off by showing you how I set up my work space and the supplies I'm using to create this painting.  Then I show you how I create a sense of depth with my layering process.  I also teach you how to paint white peonies that really pop!   

Here is a list of supplies I used for this class:

10 x 10 inch canvas (I used Artist's Loft)
Palette paper (I used Strathmore palette paper - a paper plate works well, too!)
Water for cleaning my brushes
Paper towels
Pastel stick (I used Prismacolor)
Flat and round paint brushes (I use Artist's Loft)
Liquitex Basics acrylic paints

Paint colors used:
Prussian Blue
Raw Umber
Hooker's Green
Light Olive Green
Yellow Oxide
Deep Violet
Neutral Gray 
Light Blue Permanent
Portrait Pink
Titanium White

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Meet Your Teacher

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Elle Byers

Artist and Teacher


Hello, I'm Elle Byers. I'm an artist and a teacher.  My favorite medium is acrylic paint and my favorite subject is flowers!  Check out all of my Skillshare classes at the bottom of this page. 

If you want to see what I'm up to on a daily basis, you can follow me on Instagram.  My available paintings can be purchased on my website, www.ellebyers.com. 

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1. Intro to Peonies: Hey, artist friends. My name is L. And I'm a painter and a teacher. Welcome to my skill share class. Today I'm gonna teach you how I paint vibrant white abstract peonies using acrylic paint. First, I'm gonna show you my workspace and all the supplies that I'm using for today's class that I'm gonna walk you through my whole painting process from start to finish. I'll show you how I layer my paintings to create a sense of depth. And I'll give you tips for painting white flowers that really pop. If you create a painting after watching today's class, I would absolutely love to see it. Click on the projects, Tom, below the video and upload a photo of your work. Ready? Let's get started. 2. Supplies and Setup: before we get started painting, I'm just going to quickly show you the supplies that I'm using and my workspace set up for today's class for canvas. I'm using a 10 by 10 student grade canvas that I got at my local art supply store. These are relatively inexpensive, and you can buy them in bulk for my palate. Today, I'm using Strathmore Palette paper. I like the palate paper because you could just tear off the sheet when you're finished. You could also use a paper plate. You'll want some clean water for cleaning your brushes and some paper towels as well. I am using a few different paintbrushes today, but for the most part, I'm going to be using this flat brush. I like this type of brush for the type of puffy flowers that we're making today. And for paint, I'm using my liquid Tex basics acrylics. This comes in many different colors, and it's pretty inexpensive. You should find some paints that you like, um, liquid tax wind, Zahra Newton, Golden Blick. They all make great paints. Okay, let's get started with our first layer in the next video 3. First Layer: I am going to start today's painting by just marking where the placement of my flowers on and vase with, Ah, pastel. So I know that I want my base to be in this general area. And I know I want the re big white flowers. I'm gonna have one in this area. I will have one in this area and they'll have one down here. These were going to be my main flowers, and then I'm gonna have some areas that look more abstract, just kind of like blobs, because if all this was green, I don't think it would be that interesting looking. So I'm gonna have some areas that are just might be flowers might not be flowers, but just add some interesting color And don't worry about the pastel. We're gonna cover this as we paint, So I want a stem going in that general direction and probably a stem like this. And then we'll fill the rest in abstract. Lee will have some stems in our vase here as well. I'm gonna start off like I always do with my darkest color. In this case. Today it is Prussian blue. I'm going to use some hooker's green late all of green raw number, which I always have on my palette for mixing. And I really like this yellow oxide. So I'm gonna put a little bit of that into the background, The greenery, my greenery today is not going to be all green because my flowers are going to be mostly white. I want to have a lot of color in my greenery I'm gonna take a little bit of my raw number and mix it in with my pressure in blue I do this all the time with my oppression Blue I love the deep, rich color it makes when you mix those two paints and I'm gonna add some of my darkest color around my flowers. This will give us some nice shadows. You don't need to be to exact with the first layer. We just really want to get the idea of what we're going to create. - I want this layer to be fairly thin so that it dries quickly and you can see when I go over the past still the gray lines, you don't even see them anymore. I also like to add oppression. Blue to my face number is gonna wipe off my brush and go right into this hooker's green. You can add a teeny bit of raw number two that if you like, you don't have to with this color. It's pretty nice right out of the tube and I'm going Teoh put some of this around my blue. Just wipe off my brush a little and go in with my light, all of green. With this layer, I'm really just blocking out a general idea of where everything is going to be. I'm not trying to be exact. I'm not worried about details yet, really. Just covering the canvas in a very simple general way. And you can see that my paints air mixing. But I don't mind. I actually kind of like that with certain colors. I don't want my greenery and my flowers to mix too much. No, that was probably a bad idea. I'm gonna get a new brush and add a little bit of my yellow oxide. - I'm going to use Deep violet in the background as well. These are going to be my abstract flowers. I like to mix a little bit of raw number in with that, and I'm not really making flowers. I'm just making some blobs. - Could mix a little of the yellow in with it. If you want to lighten it up, - I am going to take a little bit of white and a tiny bit of my blue. Just a teeny tiny bet. A little goes a long way with that. I want this to be the base for my flowers. Better white flowers are not going to be pure white. He'll be mostly white. But it would be kind of boring if they were just solid white. So a little of this blue is gonna peek through the background. Okay, We're gonna let this lie. You're dry, and then we'll come back and we will block out our flowers. I just want to make sure that most of my canvases covered durkin up these blues a little My shadows. Okay, I'm gonna let this dry and then I'm going to move on to flowers. 4. Flowers Layer 1: for my first layer of flowers. I'm going to use a lot of white and mix it with a little bit of neutral gray. The little pops of blue and grey and pink and yellow that we're going to add will make sure that your flowers are not flat looking. I'm going to take, Ah, flat brush kind of a big one and just make a few thin marks going in different directions. They're not going to make any circles. Most of my flowers will be just thes short little lines and you'll see as we layer them on top of other colors, we'll get some nice dimension. - You can add a teeny tiny bit of grey, tint it with white and start to add it to your flowers just a little bit. Leave a lot of this blue showing, or that's what I like to do any way you can do what you like, and I'm going to go back to my deep violet in darkened up those areas a little bit. I think I need a little bit more raw number than I used the first time, because I want that to be a little darker. This deep violet is a nice color. It's a little translucent, so if you mix it with some raw number, it'll deepen it a bit. Make it nice and dark. - I definitely want to add some color here where the flowers are going to be the focal point. Flowers anyway are going to be all What? Which white sari and highlight that a little bit if you want to. And if you want to bring some of this violent down into the stem, you congrats. A small brush and make a little bit of a stem. You like that mixed with the neutral gray. Okay, I'm gonna let this dry for a few minutes, and then I'm gonna add more details with my green and blue it for my greenery. 5. Greenery Layer 2: Okay, That's mostly dry. Dry enough. Anyway, we're going to make marks on our greenery, so I'm not too worried about the flowers being completely dry. Um, I do think I want to lighten this up a little bit, add some weight to my palette and mix it a little bit with my olive grand. Just have a little bit on my paintbrush at this stage. I'm just looking to make some interesting marks going in different directions. So you want to vary the direction of your brush stroke? You could even use multiple paintbrushes so that you are getting a different size. And I'm gonna bring some of this down into my vase. Not going to be to exact this is going to be an abstract painting after all, or semi abstract. Anyway, if your palate starts to get to dry on you, you could always spritz it with a little bit of water. I do that sometimes in between layers. When I'm waiting for them to dry, it's okay to paint right on top of your flowers, the edges of your flowers. We're going to add another layer to our flowers, so it, um it won't look bad it will actually look good. It will make your painting look more cohesive. With everything sort of overlapping. You could make some little lines. Some little dots. Just add interest right now. And if you don't like a mark that you made, you can always paint over it once the layer is dry. That's the beauty of acrylics. They didn't mean to do that, but I kind of like the way that it looks. Usually the most interesting marks on your painting are the ones that happened by accident . So don't be quick to think a painting is ruined, Um, or that you need to paint over something that you did. You'll find in the end that those might be your favorite marks. That's how it ends up being with me. Anyway, I think I need a little bit of blue light blue. This is almost empty, but it's okay. We're only going to use a little. I have to get another tube of that. I'm just gonna wipe off my paintbrush and I'm gonna add a little bit of this down here to my face. I like this color around the white flowers also, and we're just trying to add a couple of interesting lines. Okay, I'm going to go back to my flowers. Now add a little bit more white gray, and I'm gonna add a tiny bit of pink and yellow to some of these flowers as well. Okay, I'm gonna stop before I start to overdo this and on to flowers. 6. Flowers Layer 2: before my white flowers. I am going to use white, gray, pink. I'm gonna let some of this blue continue to peep through and I might add a tiny bit of yellow. I like this here. This blob that kind of looks like a flower. Might be a flower might not be a flower. I'm gonna leave that a little bit of gray. There we go. Okay, so I have a smaller flat brush clean because I want this to go on pure white, and I'm gonna put it on, then still so that some details pup through and you want your brush strokes to go in different directions. If everything is completely round and all going in the same direction, it's not gonna look that interesting. I'm gonna cover up some of the blue, but not all of it. - The more you layer thes white flowers with subtle colors, the lovelier they will be. - Well , that was too dark. But just wait the brush blended in, add a little white, and now we have Ah, nice shadow right there. Gonna mix a little portrait pink into my white. Get a nice pink tent going here. I'm gonna put it on one of my flowers Cover up a little bit more of that blue on this one And I'm gonna add I like this yellow coming through I'm gonna add a little bit of yellow. - I think this one up top could use a little yellow find a little bit of gray And I think that is too much yellow I'm gonna go back in with a tiny bit more weight. Hey, now, I'm at the point in the painting where I need some perspective So I'm a new set this up straight. I'm gonna walk away a few feet, five feet, 10 feet and I'm gonna look at it. I'm gonna look at each area of the painting and figure out where I want to start adding my final details. 7. Final Layer - Add Details: Okay, so I like this one. So far, there's nothing major. The are nothing really at all. That I decided needs to be changed. But what I need to do to finish it is just add some details. So I do like the flowers the way they are. I might just add some thick white on some of thumb to make it really stand out. I think my vase needs a tiny bit more definition, maybe some stems. And for my greenery, I'm just going to go over it with the same or similar color just to get a few more lines worked in It is a little dark, so maybe I'll lighten it up a little bit. Okay. I'm gonna I guess Start with greens and blues. Have a real number on my palette already. And then maybe all at a little bit of gray. I don't even use some yellow oxide. And my light blue is almost out. Okay, so I'm gonna take, I guess, Ah, medium brush. Medium to small brush. Just do a little mixing here on my palette. We just added a little gray into the all of green and the white. - I might add a little bit more of that at the end. I don't really like this brush that I'm using, so I'm going to switch it out. I'm gonna dark and up some areas that are already have my Prussian blue just to make sure I'm really shadowed where I want to be. Maybe I need something else down here, a little detail. - It's not really what I want at a little dark green. There's some blue mixed on the brush. That's okay. - I'm always mixing everything on my palette just to see what new color combinations I can come up with. Sometimes you'll be successful and sometimes you want. But that's OK. - It's really easy to overdo it at this point in the painting. So any time you feel like things, they're not looking the way you want them to. At this stage, just stop for a few minutes, and one of the last colors I think I'm going to use on this is yellow. I think I have to much green up here, and I really like the way the yellow looks with the deep violet. So I'm gonna take a flat brush and add a little bit of detail not a lot, but I like the way like with the yellow adds when I'm using Violet, I'm gonna mix a little bit of white. And with that, so that the yellow is a bit highlighted, huh? - The more you paint, the more intuitive it will. The process will become. You'll start to see more clearly what's too dark? What's to light? What needs a little bit of a highlight? And I can feel myself doing a little too much now over doing it. So I am going to stop. I always say, I'm going to stop, and then I keep going. But I do think I need to stop with this one, okay? One last thing I'm gonna do before I call this finished is I'm going to take some white. I'm gonna make sure it's pure white, not mixed with anything else. And I'm going to take a flat brush, and I'm gonna put a lot of paint on the brush. I'm gonna make some thick marks here on some of my flowers, and these will just be super white. It'll add some nice texture, - and I'm gonna take a small brush. I'm just add a few marks in my base. And I know I said a few minutes ago that I was done. But this time I mean it. I really am done. I'm happy with the way this one has turned out. I hope that you are happy with the painting that you are creating. Okay. I need to force myself to stop. So that is it. We are done. 8. Final Tips: once my painting is completely dry. I do a couple of things. I usually paint the sides on neutral color on the back. I take a marker and I signed my name and I give my painting a title. And then I like to varnish my paintings just to make sure that they're sealed and that the paint doesn't fade over time. I use this Windsor and Newton General Matt Varnish. It is an aerosol, so I do Onley use it outside. It does have a very strong smell, but that smell will go away as soon as the varnish is dry. If you make a painting, I would love to see it so you can upload it to the project's tab under this video or if you're going to post it to Instagram, use the hashtag modern abstract flowers so I can see your work. Thanks for joining me today.