View Full Version : BIG HELP needed for pathetic rose attempt!

05-04-2003, 10:44 AM
Hi everyone:

I have just realized that maybe I can paint animals and nothing else? :(

Actually, I think I could DRAW this rose, but give me a paintbrush and colors and I'm lost!!!! I REALLY need some help, I'm really frustrated and feeling a bit down about this, actually.

I tried painting a yellow rose last night, here it is (and if it gives anyone a good laugh, at least i did something right!!! LOL!). I didn't finish it b/c it just looked awful! :rolleyes:


I had no idea what to use for the shadow, so with all the reading I have done on colors, I thought I should use yellow's complement, purple, but it seemed to be a bit of a disaster, unless maybe I used it too strong? But it looks so yukky and muddy.

I felt like not painting anymore after seeing this! that is prob a bit extreme, but it kind of has me frustrated. :( I really need to learn something here. I wasn't going to post b/c it isn't very good at all, but hopefully I can learn something here today!

Colors: aureolin, rose madder genuine, and cobalt blue. any suggestions? I also need to figure out how to leave hard and soft edges, and leave some white edges behind, but first I gotta figure out the colors!

Thanks so much for any help ! :( ;)

05-04-2003, 10:48 AM
oh and here is the reference photo, from the ref lib, by Faafil.


and I added numbers to the rose petals just to help with identifying them. ;) I'm trying! :p :D

05-04-2003, 10:52 AM
I think you should have carried on....It's really not as bad as you think!
Yellows are particularly difficult IMO. I used blues and violets for shadows when I painted yellow daffodils. It helps if you allow the underpainting/shadows to dry completely before glazing....Otherwise it produces mud.
I seriously think you have been way too hard on yourself here....You have a great sketch, good shadows and a lovely composition..The only nit I have is that you are lacking highlights along the petals edges.

Try again!....and again.....and again.....but whatever you do, don't give up, it really has potential! :)

05-04-2003, 10:55 AM
PS...Thin your glazes out and repeat them for density, this helps them remain translucent and gives you more control over the lighter areas.

05-04-2003, 11:48 AM
It really isn't as bad as you think... It often helps me if I "greyscale" my photo before I begin to paint. This assists me in determination and placement of my values with a complicated subject... It is especially valuable in helping to recognize where the "whites" should be left for highlighting.

Then, use very thin washes of colour and build up intensity, graduating back each time, to achieve depth. Graduating back will leave the outer edges of your petals with the least amount of paint and give them the transluscent quality you're looking for. Be very sure to let each wash dry before you apply the next one.

Purple is a good colour for shading yellow... But, if you don't wait till one wash is dry before applying the next, the colour will blend rather than lay over top... making the muddy tones that are so awful...

Painting something again and again is not bad... You learn new things each time... It is disappointing... It is frustrating... In the end, it is also worthwhile! Good luck!!!

05-04-2003, 12:00 PM
Well you have gotten some fabulous advice and I agree with them both. Keep going you are being to hard on yourself. One suggestion I would make is to attempt a pink flower first, they seem to be easier. I find yellow the hardest colour to work with.

Alan Cross
05-04-2003, 12:03 PM
Hi Nicole I think you are doing fine and any painting will teach you something......keep going I try to stay away from adding purple to yellow it hardly ever works...
Alan :)

05-04-2003, 12:18 PM
Purple is a great shadow color for yellow....as long as you wait till dry and use a transparent yellow and transparent violet.

Above advice is good...and your rose is coming along fine.

Sometimes, (for me all the time) this middle stage is awfully discouraging.....ask anyone...we look at it and say "what a mess"

Just keep going, it's going to be really pretty.

BTW: beautifully done drawing!


05-04-2003, 01:24 PM
thanks so much, everyone!!!

I don't feel so bad now, having a little help and just finishing up a nice bike ride on a sunny day! Your comments have helped give me a little direction and encouragement, so I'm going to try again this afternoon. I just printed out the greyscale, and actually a copy of the thread so I have all the encouragement sitting next to me as I paint :p :D

Thanks! :D ;) :clap: :clap:

05-04-2003, 01:50 PM
keep going, you've got lots of good advice here.

maybe you could try going darker with your shadows(and stick with purple) - you want a lot of contrast, there's a lot of sun there.

good luck, Susie.:)

just dave
05-04-2003, 02:54 PM
I think a line from "The Matrix" could help not only your rose but your painting overall:

"Stop trying to hit me and HIT ME!"

...adapted to your situation...

"Stop trying to paint a rose and paint a rose!"

I see to ways to go here:

First is to take the advice that was posted before this message and keep trying. After a hundred roses you will have one that is close to what you are looking for.

Second is to give up on that. Don't even try to do that detailed, subtle, technical method. Paint the feeling of a rose. Try a new way of making one.

05-05-2003, 03:19 PM
I feel your pain LOL! I am trying roses too right now and have received some great advice here. Mine were pink and I think that color rose is much easier to start with than a yellow rose. Heck ANY color just about would be easier than yellow IMHO! Keep going and don't give up. Finish this one, learn from it and then do it again.

05-05-2003, 03:59 PM
Here are some written instructions that I use when I teach roses in my watercolor classes. I hope this helps!

Rose Painting and Instructions


COLORS: alizarin crimson, cadmium yellow deep, hooker’s green deep,

BRUSHES: #12 round brush, #1 script brush, 3/8 " angle brush

PAPER: 140# Arches Cold Press

TECHNIQUES: This painting demonstrates painting wet-into-wet,
mixing colors on the paper, scraping in veins, using salt, shading,
dry brushing, and losing the edge.

Trace the pattern onto a piece of watercolor paper.

Mix puddles of the following colors in the palette:
alizarin crimson, yellow, green, green + indigo.

Right Petal:
Using the # 12 brush paint the bottom right petal with clean water.
Paint the petal using alizarin crimson. Using the # 1 brush, pick
up a stronger mixture of alizarin crimson and drop the color in
around the edge of the petal which peeks out from behind the other
petals. Continue dropping in more color until the portion of the
petal in the inner edge is a little darker than the outside edge.
Clean the brush and dry the petal.

Left Petal:
Repeat the above process for the petal on the far left side of the
flower. Add shading on the far left outer edge of the petal under
the curl. Leave the curl white for now. Thoroughly dry the petal.

Back Petal:
Repeat the above process for the petal that is in the far back of
the flower. This is the petal which goes from the far left around
behind the bud all the way to the far right of the flower. Thoroughly
dry the petal.

Front Petal:
Using the # 12 brush paint the front petal with clean water.
Paint the petal using alizarin crimson. Using the # 1 brush, pick
up a stronger mixture of alizarin crimson and drop the color along
the right side of the petal just under the top righthand fold. Drop
a stronger mixture just under the folds at the top of the petal. Leave
the folds white for now. Thoroughly dry the petal.

Inner Petals:
Using the #1 brush and a yet more intense mixture of alizarin crimson,
paint the petal which peeks out from behind the front petal, leaving
the curl white for now. Dry thoroughly.

Using the #1 brush and an even more intense mixture of alizarin crimson,
paint the petal which is located to the left of the center of the flower
leaving the curl white for now. Dry thoroughly.

Using the #1 brush and a mixture of the same intensity as the step above,
paint the petal which is directly above and to the right of the center
of the flower, leaving the curl white for now. Dry thoroughly.

Using the #1 brush and the strongest intensity mixure, paint the center
of the flower, leaving the curl white. Dry thoroughly.

Using the #1 brush and a very watered down mixture of alizarin crimson,
paint the curls. Dry thoroughly.

When painting these leaves, make a strong effort to paint the sharp
points. Using the angle brush, paint the leaf on the far right
with clean water. Paint the leaf in places with a mixture of
green + indigo. Then touch in some yellow. Then touch in some
alizarin crimson. Scrape in the veins. While the leaf is still wet,
drop in a stronger mixture of green + indigo in the areas of the
leaf where it peeks out from behind a petal and/or another leaf.
Sprinkle a pinch of salt on the leaf. Dry thoroughly.

Using the same technique, paint all of the other leaves, drying each
one thoroughly before going on to the next one.

Using the same technique, paint the leaf pieces which hang down below
the flower.

Bubba's Mama
05-05-2003, 04:07 PM
Thanks so much for the extremely valuable lesson on rose painting - as an absolutely rank beginner, I am lost without info such as this. You are so kind to share.

And,as for the rose in question which started this all - you may not be at all happy with it, but I would be ecstatic!

Happy Cinco de Mayo, all. A great reason to paint roses and enjoy Margaritas!! :p


05-05-2003, 04:30 PM
You can reverse the colors in the instructions and use a yellow ochre for the flower and pink or green for the shading. Whatever colors you select, your flower color could be also be introduced into the background and vice versa. It helps tie them together.

05-05-2003, 05:41 PM
thanks so much everyone! whoa, Betty!! That was awesome of you to post that rose painting info!! Thanks so much!! I don't have those exact colors, but I am going to do a red or pink rose next anyway, I already drew out the rose this morning before work (now THAT is rare!!! I usually am lucky enough to have time to scarf down breakfast!)

Thanks to everyone :D , I am so glad I posted this rose, even though I didn't like it, I am learning all the time!

Hey Bettyboop, I may write back with a question if I have one! Hope that would be ok!