White flowers on a dark background

The difficulty is to get the dark colours painted without getting streaks or running out of paint. Suggested colours: Sap green, cobalt blue, lemon yellow, alizerine. You can substitute raw sienna or yellow ochre instead of lemon yellow, for a more muted colour scheme

  1. Use a large brush
  2. Mix up lots of paint
  3. "Cheat" with your composition by dividing your painting into smaller sections so that you won't have to paint the whole background in one go. You can add extra stalks or flowers
  4. Use masking fluid on some areas to make painting easier. I recommend NOT to mask all the flowers, masked paintings always have a hard-edge look
cosmos1   cosmos2    cosmos3 

Divide the background into 3 areas.

avoid lines that go into the corners.

I have masked the flower at the top and

some stalks - see here in turquoise.

Then paint with loose washes. Don't

forget your wash will dry lighter than



 Paint loosely around the petals with a

large brush. Think about your focal

point, see here how the white petals

stand out against the dark brown.

DRY completely

Remove the mask (Note: NEVER use

a hairdrier with mask and do not leave

for more than a couple of days)


 Paint in the centres with a pointed


Shadows on the petals are important

otherwise the flowers will look flat

Paint the shadows in different colours

for variety. Then paint over the white

stalks. You can also remove paint to

add some darker stalks by painting with

a fine brush and water. dab out the

line with tissue