23 Lessons, 7.5 hours total
Have you ever longed to paint realistic flowers in acrylic, but have been too intimidated to start? Or perhaps you’ve painted flowers before, but are wanting to level up your work? Are you interested in improving your drawing accuracy, colour mixing, and brushwork? If so, this is the course for you.
Painting Flowers in Acrylic is a 23 lesson, 7.5 hour course designed to scaffold you towards completing a painting of two coral charm peonies in acrylic.
- Lifetime access to the course, including updates and modifications
- Detailed coursepack with shopping lists, resource links, additional information about acrylic painting, and more
- Lifetime access to a private Facebook group, only accessible for students of paid courses, with direct access to the instructor
- Discount codes for future course offerings
Please note: while the peony painting tutorial modules have a combined length of 4 hours, you can reasonably expect to spend much longer on your painting (20+ hours, depending on the size of your canvas). Realism paintings take time, so students should budget for additional time spent practicing the skills and techniques being taught above and beyond the instructional time.
Who is this course for?:
This course is perfect for emerging painters who have already completed a few paintings, who are looking to level up their practice and develop their realism with flowers in acrylic. If you are a complete beginner who has never picked up a brush before, the course is still doable, but may require a slower pace and a can-do attitude. This course is also ideal for peony-lovers who want to learn to capture their beauty, and want to translate this learning to other flowers upon completion of the course.
This course is also ideal for artists who can watch a demonstration and practice independently once a key concept has been modelled. The modules focused on mixing tones, mixing colours, and painting petals will be completed as real time demonstrations (just over 2.5 hours total). The painting portion will feature several key case study petals painted in real time, but due to the repetitiousness of the flower petals, the petals that are similar to the demonstrated petal will be sped up slightly. Students in this course should be prepared to practice alongside me with the key case study petals, then continue other similar petals independently with the support of the timelapse.
Lesson 1 - Introduction: you’ll be walked through some important considerations to bear in mind before starting on your flower painting journey, including lighting your workspace, characteristics of acrylic paints, and working with a reference photo. You’ll also be introduced to the learning log in the course pack, so you can keep track of your learning as you progress through the course.
Lesson 2 - Aspect Ratios: you’ll learn all about how aspect ratios affect canvas size, and will be thoroughly educated about the importance of choosing a canvas size that matches the cropping of your reference photo to ensure that your drawing is transferred accurately
Lesson 3 - Materials: you’ll be introduced to all of the materials that you will require for the course, including canvases, gesso, paints, brushes, and mediums. Even though this course will barely use any medium whatsoever, you will still be taught about various popular mediums, in case you would like to experiment with any of them throughout your painting or your practice.
Lesson 4 - Priming and Prepping your Canvas: you’ll learn how to use gesso, paint, and sandpaper to create a work surface that better facilitates realism. You’ll prepare not only your canvas for the painting itself, but several canvas boards to have available for your colour mixing lessons and petal studies.
Lesson 5 - Creating a Wet Palette: if you’re frustrated by how quickly acrylic paint dries on your palette, this lesson will ensure that you will never have to deal with that problem again. You will be walked through the process of creating a wet palette that will keep your paints workable for the entirety of your painting session.
Lesson 6: Introduction to the Canvas Board Studies: we will look at using canvas boards as a tool for mixing tones, colours and painting petals. You’ll also be introduced to the concept of colour context, and learn about how it deeply impacts your ability to interpret and mix colour.
Lesson 7 - Mixing Tones: in this real-time demonstration, you’ll paint alongside me to create a board with various tones on it that will form the backbone of colour mixing for flowers.
Lesson 8 - Identifying and Mixing Colours: in this real-time demonstration, you’ll identify colours in your reference photo, isolate them, and mix them using the colours in your limited palette. You’ll be taught how to increase or tone back saturation, mix challenging colours such as greens and mauves, and walk away with a swatch board containing every colour that you will be mixing to paint the peonies in the next half of the course.
Lesson 9 - Petal Studies: you will paint two petal studies; a soft, muted petal and a vibrant, saturated petal. Each petal will take approximately half an hour to complete. You’ll be encouraged to approach the petals as sketches, not getting too bogged down in perfection, and taught how to begin with a base layer before making slight colour modifications to gradually build realism.
Lesson 10 - Consolidation: We’ll reflect on your progress made, revisit where you started versus where you are now, and celebrate your success in making it through the first half of the course.
Lesson 11 - Introduction to the Peonies: Before you start painting, let’s discuss a few important points such as progress over perfection, making adjustments, and working with the reference snapshots that have been overlaid throughout the painting modules to help you compare the painting directly to the reference photo.
Lesson 12 - Transferring the Drawing: if you have ever struggled with transferring the drawing from the reference photo to the canvas, this module will teach you how to get an accurate rendering using the grid method. You’ll build upon your previous knowledge of aspect ratios to create a grid that will support your drawing and painting process.
Lesson 13 - Painting the Background: learn to paint a background that’s blurred and out of focus, mimicking the aperture of a camera.
Lesson 14 - First Layer - Painting the Top Peony Centre: we’ll start with the focal point of the top peony, and add the first layer of the heart of the peony.
Lesson 15 - First Layer - the Lighter Petals: begin building depth in your peony by working in concentric circles around the focal point centre. In this module, you’ll add in the lighter petals only, working your way around the flower like a clock before moving towards the outer edges.
Lesson 16 - First Layer - the Outer Petals Pt. 1: this module has been split into two parts to make it easier to track progress. Now that you have the lighter petals layered in, it’s time to move to the outer edges of the petals, where richer, more intense colours await. You’ll work with both warm and cool reds to create a beautiful range of tones that will suggest depth.
Lesson 17 - First Layer - the Outer Petals Pt. 2: Continuing from the previous module, you’ll work on the bottom petals of the top peony, using soft blends to make your brushstrokes invisible and add to the realism.
Lesson 18 - First Layer - the Bottom Peony: moving from the soft, airy tones of the top peony, you’ll begin working on the bottom peony. Instead of mixing colours as you go along, you’ll instead mix your colours up front to have a full palette to work with. You’ll learn about some of the challenges of transparency that accompany working with dark colours, and how to overcome them.
Lesson 19 - Introduction to the Second Layer: we’ll begin by celebrating your accomplishments in having completed the first layer, before discussing what you can expect in the second. We’ll talk about the importance of critically weighing which adjustments you’d like to make, and what to do if you make an unsuccessful adjustment.
Lesson 20 - Second Layer - the Background and Centre Details: we’ll revisit the background to make any final adjustments before adding in important details in the centre of the flower. You’ll be introduced to how adjustments work in the second layer of an acrylic painting, before painting in the stamens and adjusting the carpels of the top peony.
Lesson 21 - Second Layer - Finishing the Flowers: using a screenshot demonstrating the difference between the first layer and second layer, you’ll be coached through the process of adjusting and tweaking your painting to calibrate it and make it appear more lifelike. You’ll be invited to check against your own reference photo and make changes that you need to make on your end instead of copying what you’re viewing on the screen. You’ll be reminded of important questions to ask yourself while considering which adjustments to make.
Lesson 22 - Signing the Painting and Varnishing: one of the most satisfying feelings of finishing a painting is signing your name. In this module, you’ll be shown how to keep your signature unobtrusive and straight, before walked through the optional stage of varnishing.
Lesson 23 - Conclusion: let’s take a moment to celebrate your accomplishment…you did it! Now, the most important thing is for you to keep going, and to treat this course as the launch for many flower paintings to come.
About your Instructor:
Marianne Vander Dussen (BEd, MEd, OCT) is a professional artist and trained teacher who developed her online following by creating accessible and engaging painting tutorials and art education content. With millions of views through both her YouTube channel and Instagram account, Marianne has supported thousands of artists on their creative journey by breaking down her painting process in a way that feels inviting and achievable. Her students can expect strong, clear instruction and unconditional support. Marianne works in both acrylic and oil paint, and has developed an intense fascination with sketchbooks. She lives in North Bay, Ontario with her family.