How to Draw Cannas in Pastel

Skill Level : 1 Beginner

Medium : Pastel Painting

Subject : Flowers

Tutor : Dennis Clark

Class Length : 1 hour 52 minutes

Avg Rating : No Ratings Yet

Silver Level or Higher Class

Class Description

Canna flowers come in a large range of colours, anything from light pink right through to dark red. Even the leaves between the species are markedly different - from light green to purple and some have stripes in them. Because these flowers are not the easiest to paint, due to the small difference in colour and tonal range, we will only major on the shapes for this drawing. Most subjects are first recognized by their shapes.

In this lesson you will learn:

1.  How to add the dark background for contrast
2.  How to recognize the shapes of the flowers and petals
3.  How to indicate the separation of the petals
4.  How to simplify the stem details

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Class Tutorial

Template and flower sample

This class is about painting a Canna flower.  An example of a live flower is shown to indicate that there is a slight difficulty factor for beginners in as much that there are details that are not easily deciphered and also that the tonal ranges are quite close together.  After rubbing graphite onto the back of the template, trace the outlines onto the pastel paper.

Blocking in the dark colours

The dark background will be added after the flower has been completely painted. At this stage block in the dark background colour you will be using where it peeps through the gaps in the flower.  We need to do this first, in order that when we add the petal colours, we get the proper overlap.  This will ensure the sharp edges of the petals.

Block in the petal colours

With a red pastel stick, lightly stroke in some of the colour where you see the orange areas in the petals.  Now paint some light yellow next to the red.  With a fingertip, carefully blend them together.  The yellow merging in with the red will form the orange section of the petals.

Shadows under the petals

Now, with a raw sienna colour, paint in the deep shadows cast under the petals.  Carefully rub it into the paper up to the edge of the petals.

Continue with the petals

Spot in some yellow ochre to paint the light shadow markings on the petals and just blend lightly for the moment.  We are still building up the colour of the petals.

Add the few stripes that are visible in the petals and then fill in the red petal tips.  Try not to do too much blending.  Remember we are making a painting and not a photograph.

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Parts below the main flower group

With a light violet pastel, paint the parts where the flowers actually join to the main stalk.  No need to do much detailing here at this stage. Add some nice bright green for the stalk highlight.

The background

Start completing the blocking in of the dark background. Use the colour you chose at the beginning of the tutorial.  Use the side of the pastel stick to layer it on, and then blend with the fingers to form as even coloured background as possible. It is not necessary to be absolutely smooth without any texture. A slight texture adds interest to the background.

Outline the petals

With a bright yellow pastel start sharpening up the petal edges against the dark background.  This light against the dark help to lift the flower away from the background.  A fuzzy edge tends to bring the background too far forward.

Where flower have fallen off

This area is where the spent flower have withered away and fallen off, leaving the stubs behind.

Touch up the flowers

Then, with a very light yellow, lightly touch in some of the smaller highlights on the petals .

Final Drawing

About Dennis Clark

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