How to Paint a Realistic Flower in Oil

Skill Level : 1 Beginner, 2 Intermediate

Medium : Oil Painting

Subject : Flowers

Tutor : Nolan Clark

Avg Rating :

Gold Level or Higher Class

Class Description


Latest Reviews

Painting this rose seemed like an impossible task when I first watch the video, but by following the instructions step by step I was amazed at what I have done. This success was the cataclist to want to learn more about oil painting. Two years later, I am happy in my new experience and continue to paint and learn.


Class Tutorial

Masking the rose

masking the rose

Use a product like Clear Cover to mask your flower. Use a craft knife to carefully remove the excess covering.

Colour mixing

colors used for the painting

With a Colour Buster to determine the base colour of the flower and the combinations of colours you will need to mix to create highlights and shadows.  Also mix the paint for your background.

Painting the background

painting the background

Using a hardware brush, apply your background paint.  Notice  Nolan's unusual technique for adding texture to the background.

Carefully remove the mask from your flower.

Painting the stem

painting the stem

Mix the colours you will need for the stem, then apply the paint using the technique that Nolan demonstrates.

Colour mixing

black hue palette

Study the palette to see the colours that are going to be used.  Watch as Nolan shows how to mix a blackish hue that can be used in creating shadow colour (referred to as a “neutral mix”).  Note how he mixes it with the colour for which it will provide the shading.

Painting the first petal

painting the first petal

Study the reference photo to determine what the underlying color is as you start to paint a petal.  Apply that paint first.  Continually adjust the colour as you cover more of the petal.  Add a shadow to indicate the “valley” part of the petal.  Be sure to soften the edges of your shadows.   Add the pinkish tones, being careful to follow the plane lines.  Note the type of brush stroke that Nolan is using.  Intensify the pink tones where needed.

Moving onto the other petals

painting other petals

Working in similar fashion to the first petal, mix the shadow paint for the next petal and apply it to the exposed underside of the tip.  Move on to the tip, applying the base colour which will have a different tint than the first petal.  Add shading to the remainder of the tip, then paint the remainder of the petal.  Note that you will have a bit of reflected light on this petal which will introduce a different colour into the mix.  Conclude painting the petal with pink tones for texture and contrast.

Painting the leaves

painting the leaves

Mix the leaf colours, including the base colour, highlight, reflected light, and shadow.  Block in the colours onto the leaves.  Note the technique Nolan uses to achieve the look of veins.

On the second leaf, modify the color for painting the underside. Watch as Nolan introduces a different technique to paint the veins on this leaf.

Final artwork

final painting of painting realistic flowers in oil

In this lesson we mixed numerous of colours needed to complete the painting, it used a  different order in which to paint the petals.  Nolan concludes the lesson by explaining the order in which the petals would normally be painted.


About Nolan Clark

Read more about Nolan Clark

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