How to Oil Paint a "Red Gerbera Daisy" Flower by Artist Lloyd W Thibodeau

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Last Update :
December 24, 2017

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Lloyd Thibodeau
1901 Country Apple Court
Fountain Inn, SC 29644

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How to Oil Paint a Gerbera Daisy Flower

Gerbera Melange flower artist reference image.

Bright red petals, a golden yellow interior and luscious green leaves makes the Gerbera Melange flower a very interesting subject for oil painting. The contrast is immediate from the flower petals to the leaves because red and green are opposite each other on the color wheel. Painting the leaves dark shadowy areas will emphasize this to a greater degree as it create even more contrast. There will be much attention from many viewing eyes that will be captured when this artwork is completed.

Watercolor pencil sketch of Gerbera Melange flower on artist oil painting canvas.

Setting Up Your Artist Surface to Transfer Flower Image

When working on your artwork you will first need to determine of the size of your squares that you want to make on your canvas. With my canvas being twenty four inches high and thirty six inches wide I was able to use a two inch square pattern. The flower image then became twenty inches high and twenty six inches wide in size.

You can use watercolor pencils to to transfer the flower image. A good place to start the transfer process is from the leaves at the bottom left of the canvas. Watercolor pencils are a plus for the painting because they enable you to use the corresponding color that will be on your colored pencil, acrylic or oil painting. In this composition it also allows you to get an idea of what the background colors may be around the flower's petals and leaves.

Because the majority of the hue of the flower's petals are going to be red I've chosen a bluish hue for the background color. Blue against Red will create a dramatic effect because Blue is across the color wheel from red which will make the flower stand out more.

Beginning the Background Under Painting

Starting in the top upper corners of the canvas you can brush on Colbalt Blue with some Manganese Blue. To darken the edges of the canvas you blend in a little bit of Burnt Sienna while lightening the background color as you paint towards the flower. Continue to lighten the colors as you get closer to the red petals of the flower and the rich green leaves where the area of the focal point will be painted in.

Painting in of blue background colors and red flower petals.

When Your Painting the Flower Petals Keep These Artist Thoughts in Mind

For painting the petals start painting from the petal tips and brush toward the center of the flower. You can use on your color palette a mix of Permanent Red, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Sienna and Cobalt Blue. By beginning with Permanent Red your able to brush on a foundation of under paint for building from. Your shadows are painted in with a small mix of Cobalt Blue and Alizarin Crimson. You can vary this according to the strength of the shadows you needed so practice different mixes before hand.

On the lighter petal areas use Cadium Yellow Light. Steer away from using Titanium White for brightening the petal areas which will give a pinkish hue and will ruin the desired color you need. Instead use yellow because it's on the warmer side of color wheel from red and gives a truer highlighted warm color. Painting with yellow for the highlights will definitely make the daisy flower more vibrant.

Background sky area change with addition of painting in white puffy clouds.

Work with Cadium Yellow Light the center of the petals and outward. On this portion of painting you will need to be careful of the change in color that takes place when red and yellow are mixed. You didn't want orange to take over in these areas. And note the difference in brightness from the center upper petals to the center lower petals in the yellow areas. Letting more of red become blended in the bright yellow and using Yellow Ochre helps to create a shaded look on the upper petals. You will find that this tones down the bright Cadium Yellow Light oil paint.

Painting Your Leaves of the Gerbera Flower

You will find painting the green leaves creates a richness and sets a great contrast from the red petals. Look at your color wheel and find these two colors on it. They are directly on the opposite side of each other of the color wheel. Because of this the red and green areas on the Gerbera flower painting when painted next to each other demand your attention.

In painting the green leaves a different mix of Thalo Blue, Cobalt Blue, Alizarin Crimson and Cadium Yellow Light can be used. At times some Burnt Umber for shadows and tiny bit of white for the bright highlights can be brushed in. These colors where used also to create the sky in my artist rendering.

Completed oil painting of Gerbera Daisy.

You can Paint Clouds for Your Background

By painting breezy puffy clouds in the background you can create a dramatic effect. Don't paint bright white ones but tone your clouds down with a little Thalo Blue and a small amount of Alizarin Crimson. Your hues that you mix with these color will move your flower to the front. It just about gives a 3D appearance to the overall painting when completed.

Once again it's the colors effecting one another that causes this artwork to give the impression of being able to pluck the flower off the canvas. Study your color wheel's opposite colors and play around with the different combinations and practice painting how they react with each other. You will find it to be a lot of fun learning and also rewarding when this is reflected in your artworks.

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