Since I don’t have any fine art shows scheduled for August, I’m cranking out a few bridal bouquets that are on the waiting list. I’m thinking of bringing one or two to the Richmond Bridal Showcase on Aug. 14, which I’m really excited about. Hopefully all the brides will love this unique idea and reserve theirs right on the spot! I have a couple of free tickets… anyone interested in going? I’d be happy to mail them to you.

So how is a bridal bouquet turned into an original painting?

As you know, I work off of the photos clients send to me. The better the photos, the more accurate the finished version will be. Once I have the photos, I process them in Photoshop so I can see the details and then I start sketching it out directly on the canvas. I don’t normally sketch out my paintings but for bridal bouquets, it’s important to get the right shape and the dimensions of the flowers right.

Once the sketching is done, I start putting on the first layer of each paint color. This is when the bouquet starts coming to life. The first layer always turns out very soft. Once it’s done, I can stand back and see that I’ve (hopefully) balanced the bouquet right (color balance, right amount of flowers according to the bouquet etc.) and that I don’t have too much dead space on the canvas.

After the first layer is done, I’ll go back to work on each flower type (roses first, then calla lilies etc.). In the photo above, I’ve added another layer and definition to the leaves. There’s already a big difference between the first layer and the second, don’t you think? Still, there are many many more layers and a lot more detail that needs to be worked in.

The background color is fun to pick out. I start getting a feel for the right color once I start working on the painting. I spend so much one-on-one time with the painting and the bouquet, I start getting a feeling for what the background color should be that would best highlight the bouquet. It’s all from a feeling.

If the client has already specified a color they wish to have as a background color, in this case their wedding color, I kinda meditate on the idea while I’m working on the painting to see if it will work or if that type of color needs to be lighter or darker.

 

After putting on a few layers of the background color, I send a photo along to the client to keep them updated. I ask them to have an open mind and let them know that the painting is not at all done! I just want to make sure they are happy with the color combination etc. Some clients are more hands off and only wants to see the finished version. 

Once I added the background color for this painting, I could tell there was a gaping green hole in the middle of the bouquet which although accurate to the photo I was working off of, wasn’t giving me the right vibe. After looking at some other photos the client sent along, I added a few more white flowers to create the fuller look. Sometimes a photo can be taken from an odd angle and show more of one type of flower. That’s when it’s good to have several photos to work off of.

Here’s me working on adding all the details and highlighting the petals, stems and leaves. See how small the brush is? This process is no joke. 🙂 There are of course many hours of work between these two photos, the one that I send to the client is about mid-way through the process.

TaDaa! And here’s the finished version! What a difference, right?

The background has several layers on it to smooth out the brushstroke and create an even tone, and all the details have been added. When do I know that it’s finished? I don’t think any painting is really finished to be honest. I stop when I know I’m proud of it and the work I’ve done. I guess it’s another feeling I get!

Here’s an up-close photo of all the details. Everything is done with brushes, no matter how small the detail or how straight the line. Each painting takes about two weeks from start to finish which is why I can only do about 20 a year.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little behind-the-scenes in how at least one bridal bouquet was made. If you’re interested in seeing more in-progress photos, you can check out the Royal Bridal Bouquet (here and here).

xo,
Erica