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Sunflowers are one of the easiest flowers to paint. Learn how to paint one yourself with the simple and easy to follow tutorial below.
Want to learn an easy way to draw and paint a sunflower?
In today’s step-by-step tutorial, I’m going to take you through the EXACT steps to first draw and then paint one of the easiest flowers to paint with acrylics – Sunflowers!
If you’re just starting out with acrylics paints be sure to take a look at my Ultimate Guide on Acrylic Paints. It will take your through most things you need when starting out.
These easy to draw sunflowers are first drawn on by tracing them onto your canvas or wood with pencil (FREE printable stencil below). That way you can fully enjoy painting them in and experiment with different paint strokes – without worrying about the shape and proportion of the sunflower.
It’s can even be a fun project to add to your art journal or bullet journal.
You can also paint sunflowers on other things too like this painted Hydro Flask water bottle with sunflowers.
You’ll also learn a nifty trick on how to create a gorgeous bumpy/textured sunflower center- with your acrylic paint! It’s fun AND relaxing- it totally got me into a zen mode!
If you want to learn how to paint MORE easy flowers with acrylic paints, check out how to paint lavender flowers, and how to paint a cherry blossom tree tutorials! They’re easy, fun and geared towards beginners who are learning.
Get your creative caps on and let your inner artist bloom…
Paint a Sunflower YouTube Tutorial
Click on the image below to watch the full-length how to paint a sunflower YouTube tutorial
Active Time1 hour30 minutes
Total Time1 hour30 minutes
- FREE printable sunflower stencil
- Cadmium Yellow (Deep)
- Burnt Umber
- Cadmium Red
- Mars Black
- Titanium White
- 9x12 Canvas
- Tombow Brush Pen
- Cobalt Blue
- 1/4 flat brush
- water and container
- Watch the full length how to paint a sunflower YouTube tutorial
- With your sunflower printable stencil (at the end of this post), trace / draw your sunflower petals onto your canvas using this drawing transfer method
- Mix a little titanium white with some cadmium yellow. Using your flat brush, paint the yellow mixture onto each drawn petal of the sunflower. Use the flat edge of the brush to paint the petal edges- to give them a clean and defined look. Let the paint dry
- Take a some burnt umber (brown) and paint the center of the sunflower
- Mix a bit of the cadmium yellow with a tiny amount of burnt umber (brown). Use this color to shade the base of your petals. Use it from the base to about half way up the petal- not the entire petal. Paint brush technique: Pick up the paint on your straight brush and paint short strokes from the base to the half way point of each petal. Let the paint dry.
- Mix a tiny amount of cadmium red with the cadmium yellow/brown mixture from the step above. This will make a nice warm orange-ish hue.Use this color to paint some strokes in each petal. Let this orange paint fully dry.
- Now take pure cadmium yellow and lightly paint over each ENTIRE petal. This will really bring the warm sunny yellow sunflower color to the flower.Try to let some of the orange to show through, by using your brush to "streak" on the yellow.
- Now time for some highlighting, to bring this sunflower to life! Take some titanium white and add some "white" streaks in the middle of each petal.
- Now onto the center of the sunflower. It takes some time- but is pretty fun and relaxing to do! To start out with. Flip your brush around and dip the top of your brush handle into your paint. Dot the black on in a small circle int he center of the sunflower
- Using the same technique as above, adding a thin ring of yellow around the black
- Using the same technique and another thin ring of brown
- Same technique, add a ring of black around the remaining sunflower center
- Now you can paint the background in any color you would like (read below for some tips on some complementary colors that go well with yellow). If you would like to use the same colors I chose: Mix some cadmium red, cobalt blue and titanium white( keep adding the white slowly until you get a color you like), to get a subtle lavender color. To get a "streaky" look, try not to completely mix the red, blue and white, and let some of each color remain in the mixture. Use long up and down strokes to add the paint onto the canvas, using your straight brush around the petals of the sunflower.Let the paint dry.
- Optional: If you want to add on add inspirational quote, go for it! I included the "Shine Bright" one which you can transfer on, using the transfer method we used earlier. You can use a sharpie, brush pen or even some black paint with a detail brush to write your favourite saying. And you're done!
Use a brush pen to easily add an inspirational quote to your painting.
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Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint, 4-oz tube, Cobalt Blue Hue
Tombow 56621 Dual Brush Pen, N15 - Black, 1-Pack. Blendable, Brush and Fine Tip Marker
Canson Foundation Disposable Palette Pad, Coated Paper, Fold Over, 9 x 12 Inch, 40 Sheets
Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint, 4-oz tube, Mars Black
Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint, 8.45-oz tube, Titanium White
Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint, 4-oz tube, Cadmium Red Medium Hue
Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint, 4-oz tube, Burnt Umber
PHOENIX Pre Stretched Canvas for Painting - 9x12 Inch / 8 Pack - 5/8 Inch Profile of Super Value Pack for Oil & Acrylic Paint
Creative Inspirations Dura-HandleArtist Paint Brushes Long Solid Resin Handle Resists Chips & Cracks - Flat [Set of 3]
Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint, 4-oz tube, Cadmium Yellow Deep Hue
Did you make this project?
Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest
Easy Sunflower Painting Tips
- Don’t try to make sunflowers perfect- they’re petals are asymmetrical naturally so just go with the flow and have fun with them!
- Yellow acrylic paint can be translucent (I.e. see through), add some white into it to make it more opaque (less see through).
- paint your sunflower on canvas, wooden board, watercolor paper or even a rock!
- Let each layer of paint dry completely before the next. It gives your painting a more “layered” look, which will add to its beauty.
- Choose a colored background that will complement the yellow sunflower: Green, Light Purple, Black, Gray, light blue and navy blue are some great choices to complement the warm yellow.
Here’s some additional pictures of this bright and easy sunflower painting.
FREE PRINTABLE SUNFLOWER STENCIL
As promised here’s the FREE sunflower stencil that you can use to draw /trace the basic sunflower shape. To learn how to transfer the drawing to canvas check out this post.
How to print: Right click on image, save as jpg to your computer and print out.
Hope you enjoyed this step by step painting tutorial on these super simple flowers to paint -Sunflowers!
Enjoy and don’t forget to shine bright-like your beautiful sunflower!
P.s.For more beginner painting tutorials checkout my learn to paint series
If you liked this tutorial, please PIN IT!
Easy to Paint Sunflower
This is one of my favorite Fall projects and it is so easy for the beginning painter!
The lettering is just added on via Picasa, it demonstrates what it can look like with wording or you can leave as just a painting.
I earlier I wrote about my most used painting supplies and tools for easy reference. You get a good idea of what I have on hand for my art work.
So are you ready to paint this easy to paint sunflower?
No artistic talent is needed.
I have been painting on fence boards glued and screwed to a piece of 1/4 inch plywood.
(note: I now prefer this other method of cleating the boards together, I found that the plywood would curl when the boards dried if they were green)
And I am using my Potting Bench as an Easel today.
I base painted this one with Miss Mustard Seeds milk paint, Grainsack is the color.
One coat is fine and then I sand it a bit to rough it up.
You can base paint with any paint you have, like the Folk Art craft paint.
So here it is, ready for us to begin.
To the right is, of course, our first sunflower painting.
(There are affiliate links in this post, please see my disclosure page for more info)
The colors I used for this are;
Folk Art Yellow Ochre
Ceramacoat Empire Gold
Folkart Medium Yellow,
Folkart Sunny Yellow,
Folkart Wicker White,
Folkart Burnt Umber,
and touch of Folkart Tomato red.
I used a 3/4 in flat brush and a scruffy brush.
These are the colors I used but if you have something comparable but in another brand that is good quality then that will work too.
Sketch on your design lightly with a pencil.
I know it is faint but you can see it if you squint with one eye and close the other.
Load up your 3/4 inch brush (you can use a larger brush, this is just what I grabbed today) with Burnt Umber.
I have a bit of Yellow Ochre here too in case I feel an area needs a touch.
Just slap it on with no rhyme or reason, criss cross and fill in.
Now to add some texture, double load the scruffy brush. It should look like it is half black half burnt umber.
(I know, this looks like it is mostly black, I did correct that.)
You will note I did put some Yellow Ochre in when I brushed in the Burnt Umber.
Now pounce the scruffy brush around the outside edge of the Burnt Umber you had painted in, with the black to the outside,
and make a backward C shape around the very center.
I put yellow ochre in the very center so it stood out to you.
Now place a puddle of Yellow Ochre and another puddle of Empire Gold on your plate and double load your 3/4 brush.
Double loading is where one side of your brush is loaded with one color and the other edge is loaded with the other.
Fill in your petals, you will be able to see both colors streaking together as you do.
Follow the shape of the petals.
Here is all the petals painted with the Yellow Ochre and Empire Gold.
Don’t worry about getting some on the center, that will be taken care of later.
Now lets bring in some brightness.
No need to let anything dry, just paint wet on wet, and if it dries on you, no worries, that works too.
Clean out your brush by wiping it off with a cloth, no real need to wash it but if you want go ahead.
Now load your 3/4 inch brush with Medium Yellow and brush it on, don’t fill it in, just streak it on following the lines of the petal.
Again, don’t worry about getting any on the center.
Now we will add a bit of highlights.
Here is where you add the Sunny Yellow.
But just on the one side of the petals.
One item I failed to mention at the beginning.
Floating Medium, this is clear and will help you to highlight and shade in some areas.
We will use it with white to add even more highlights.
Load your brush with Medium then brush one corner thru a puddle of white and work it in a bit by brushing it back and forth on your palette.
Now brush it over the Sunny Yellow streaks for added brightness.
The effect is subtle but there.
Now take that scruffy brush again, load it with Burnt Umber and pounce around the center to clean up the edges.
So far, so good.
But we need some shadowing.
We should let it dry first so I will go do something else while it dries.
Load the 3/4 inch brush with the Floating Medium and brush one edge through the Burnt Umber, like you did with the White to highlight.
Now run it along the edges of the petals, just the one side, where the arrows are pointing.
Also where a petal goes over another, create a shadow there.
And you are done!
I will put a coat of varathane on this once wording, if any, is decided upon.
I use a water based exterior grade Spar Urethane by Varathane to preserve it and make outdoor display possible.
I widened the bottom petal as it seemed out of proportion when I looked at the photo just above this one.
I also had tapped just a touch of the Tomato Red along the right edge of the center.
You can change the colors of the petals and center to whatever you like, there are so many color choices in sunflowers.
I hope you get a chance to paint one. If you do please join our private painting Facebook page and share!
Painting with Pamela
More painting posts you will enjoy!
Harvest sign and how to paint lettering.
Paint an even Easier Sunflower
Great Painting Projects for Autumn
Happy Painting, enjoy!
Feel Free to Share!
How to Paint Sunflowers for Beginners is an easy stroke by stroke lesson to get you started on painting these sunny summer flowers. Great for decorating greeting cards, hand made gifts or even gift wrap.
Learning how to paint sunflowers for beginners is not only easy but it is really so much fun! This step by step painting tutorial is easy enough to do with the kids. Never will two people paint exactly the same and the uniqueness of everyone’s style is what makes art so wonderful.
Remember when you paint with me we aren’t going for realism, but we are giving an impression of something. The brain takes over. So stop trying to be perfect at painting, especially at first.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Please read my disclosure for more info.
In this demo and in my fabric painting tutorial I use a scruffy brush to pounce in the center but you can also stroke paint an center. I will share that in another tutorial or design for you.
Related: Sunflowers in a Mason Jar painting tutorial
First you can draw a circle or oval shape if it helps. Many times I just start pouncing the double loaded scruffy brush around in a circle shape.
I use a dark brown (burnt umber) and a black in the demo but if you look at actual sunflowers they come in a range of colors.
So go with the colors of what you are painting just be sure the two colors have good contrast. It helps me to find photos to mimic them.
I am using bottled craft acrylics here.
Keep the brush in one position, not twisting and turning so you can see a definite form taking shape with the two colors.
Next you need to double load a flat brush (size of brush depends on the size of your sunflower, in this demo I used a #12 flat brush) with a yellow ochre or a darker gold color and a medium yellow.
Stroke the petals on.
Line up the chisel edge to your center, press, drag and let spring to a point as you turn the brush to the side.
You get a better idea when watching the video linked at the end of this post.
Keep going around the center until you have petals all the way around.
You can do another layer of petals if you wish, that is shown in the video, these photos only show a single layer.
You will need to clean up the center,
just double load your scruffy again and tap over the base of the petals.
And voila’! You have a sunflower.
Go ahead and watch the video and I also demonstrate painting the leaves.
I kind of got off camera when painting the smaller leaves but they are basically the same as a petal.
I have a whole new workshop that has both Sunflowers and Delphiniums!
Easy video lessons that take you step by step through the painting with a downloadable pattern & supply list.
Supplies: (most of these can be found at your local hobby or craft store)
Plaid FolkArt Acrylics:
School Bus Yellow
Citrus Green or Foliage Green
So go and paint some sunshine!
PIN FOR LATER
Please enjoy and share!
Canvas easy sunflower
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How To Paint A Sunflower
Learn how to paint a bright, cheerful yellow sunflower! This acrylic painting tutorial of a sunflower is for the beginner and I will direct you through each step.
Painting sunflowers can seem kind of hard. I think it’s all about layering colors and using some different stroke techniques.
The center, for example, was done using “stippling”. The petals were done with “double loading” two colors on the brush. I used two different shades of yellow as well as brown and white.
I will teach you these techniques in this tutorial!
Download a PDF For This Tutorial!
Find out how you can download an E-Book of this tutorial + bonus sized traceables!
This painting demonstration was done on an 11″ x 14″ canvas. I also did it on an 8″ x 10″ canvas.
The design itself is very versatile and can easily be done on a larger scale. If you are inching to paint on a large canvas then this is a great tutorial to do that on!
I chose ultramarine blue for the background because I love how the yellow pops with it! You can choose a different background color if you’d like and even omit the spirals.
I actually think a white background looks fabulous too!
Also, painting the sides of this canvas will give the sunflower painting a beautiful 3D effect of the petals extending around the canvas.
I hope you enjoy this tutorial and find it helpful! Please share when you’re done painting! You can join our Facebook group of beginner painters and share your sunflower there!
This post contains affiliate links.
Active Time2 hours
Total Time2 hours
- Trace a 6” circle in the lower left area of your canvas for the center of the sunflower.
- Paint the circle burnt umber.
- Use a #8 Round Bush to draw the petals out with cadmium yellow hue.
- Paint the bottom of the petals with cadmium yellow hue double loaded with a tiny bit of burnt umber.
- Paint the rest of the petals with cadmium yellow hue double loaded in primary yellow.
- Paint the back petals with burnt umber mixed with cadmium yellow hue.
- Double load the filbertbrush with primary yellow and white to paint the top layer of the front petals.
- Use a #8 round brush to stipple black in the center of the circle.
- Add white to the brush and stipple a white ring around the black circle.
- Rinse brush and then add burnt umber and black.
- Load the brush with cadmium orange and stipple some orange dots on the outer parts of the circle.
- Rinse brush and paint pure titanium whites in the center of the circle.
- Paint the background ultramarine blue.
- Paint the sides of the canvas..
- When the background is dry use a tiny round brush to paint white spiral designs over the blue .
Using Apple Barrel craft paints? Scroll down a little further for color suggestions.
Doing this with Apple Barrel?
Use these colors:
- Nutmeg Brown (Burnt Umber)
- Jack O Lantern (Cad Orange Medium)
- Black (Carbon Black)
- Yellow Flame (Primary Yellow)
- Bright Yellow (Cad Yellow Medium)
- White (White)
- Bright Blue (Ultramarine Blue)
The traceable is optional in this painting because I guide you through with painting the petals. However, I am providing this for you if you feel more comfortable having the flower predawn for you!
My PDF Download Version of this tutorial also includes this sunflower traceable in different sizes such as for a 16 x 20 canvas.
Directions At A Glance:
Step By Step Pictures
1. Trace a 6″ circle on the lower left area of your canvas.
I found a plate that was 6″ in diameter. You can do the same and find a circle that is relatively the same size.
If you are working on a larger or smaller canvas, you will need to adjust the size of your circle. I used a pencil to trace.
2. Paint the circle burnt umber.
Using any brush (I used a filbert brush), paint the entire circle a solid coat of burnt umber. You don’t need to worry about stroke direction here, it is only an under layer color.
3. Use a #8 round brush to draw the petals all out with cadmium yellow hue.
For the petals I used a #8 round brush and the color cadmium yellow hue.
I started each petal at the base where the circle is and overlapped it slightly over the circle.
Then I drew each petal out. The tip of all the petals went almost all the way to the edge of the canvas.
The petals themselves are wider in the middle and come to a point.
Because that burnt umber (brown) is not dry yet, you may end up dragging it with the yellow.
That is okay and actually I purposely let it do that so my yellow would look more like a sunflower yellow.
Each petal is slightly different, none of them are exactly uniform.
Also, I didn’t really worry about overlapping at this point. I just painted them as if they were all side by side.
Also remember that the petals on the left will go off the canvas so we don’t see the tips. You’ll need to just estimate how they would look.
4. Paint the bottom parts of the petals with cadmium yellow hue double loaded with a tiny bit of burnt umber.
Using that #8 round brush, I double loaded it with a tiny bit of burnt umber and more cadmium yellow hue.
Double loading means to load your brush with more than one color.
Then I painted the bottom part of each of the petals. My strokes went in the direction of the petal.
When you reload the brush, make sure you add more cadmium yellow hue and not so much burnt umber.
This area should look like a dark, unmixed yellow and not brown. Paint just the bottom of all the petals.
5. Paint the rest of the petals with cadmium yellow hue double loaded with primary yellow.
Use a filbert brush.
Double load the filbert in both cadmium yellow hue and primary yellow (about equal amounts).
Paint the petals in with your strokes going in the direction of the petals. Those two yellows will blend to create an uneven yellow on the petals.
Try to get that darker part to blend with the yellows as well so it has a nice sooth transition from dark to light.
6. Paint the back petals with burnt umber mixed with cadmium yellow hue.
For the back petals, I mixed on my palette burnt umber and cadmium yellow hue. I did not mix it all the way. Use about 2 parts burnt umber and 4 parts cadmium yellow hue.
Use the #8 round brush to draw out all the back petals and then fill them in. This should look like a golden yellow, not too dark but darker than the front petals.
Also, paint the little white spaces around the circle in between all the petals where the back petals are attached.
Paint the back petals in between all the front petals and all around the sunflower.
On the left you don’t see the back petals as much but perhaps see them in between where some of the white space is still showing.
7. Double load the filbert brush with primary yellow and white to paint a top layer on all the front petals.
Go back to your filbert brush (clean). Load it with both primary yellow and titanium white (about equal amounts).
Paint a layer on just the front petals. When you do the strokes, allow that white to blend with the yellow creating soft texture on the petal.
Use the tip of the brush on its side to paint a lot of thin strokes to get soft white lines blended with yellow.
Let the paint mix on the canvas and do its thing. Let the strokes blend and contour with the shape of each of the petals.
Pay attention to any overlapping petals at this point.
The white and primary yellow will really brighten those front petals up!
8. Use a #8 round brush to “stipple” black in the center of the circle.
Switch back to a clean #8 round brush and add carbon black to your palette.
Use the tip of that round brush to dot a circle of dense black dots in the center. Form a circle with those dots.
The circle was about 3″ diameter.
9. Add white to the not rinsed brush and stipple a white ring around the black circle.
After your circle is dense and for the most part filled in with dots, load the not rinsed brush with titanium white.
Dot a dense ring around that black circle. The white will naturally turn gray. Let it do this.
When you reload, just add white to your brush. Let that color be inconsistent throughout that ring.
10. Rinse brush and then add burnt umber and black.
Continue stippling the outer part of that gray ring you created. Work your way to the outer edge of the circle but don’t fill it in solid.
In the next step, I added some orange to my brush so leave some room for the orange.
11. Load the “not rinsed” brush with cadmium orange and stipple on some orange dots on the outer parts of the circle.
As you work your way to the edge of that circle, add cadmium orange medium to your not rinsed brush. Paint little dots of orange.
Continue loading the brush with a little orange, a little black and a little burnt umber.
Work your way all the way to the edge of that circle. I overlapped some of the dots over the bottom of some petals as well.
Some of the dots overlapped the bottom of the petals. If you think about it, the entire middle circle has dimension and is not completely flat. Therefore some of it might be overlapping the bottom petals slightly.
Basically the middle is darkest with all black dots. The ring is white and black. The outer part of the circle is brown, orange and black (with some dots slightly overlapping the bottom of the petals).
12. Rinse brush completely and add pure titanium white. Stipple on some white dots sparingly in the very center and around the rest of the circle.
Add just pure white to your round brush. Make little bright white dots in the center (just a few), the ring and sparingly on the outer parts of the circle.
This give some highlight and nice color dimension.
Now we are done with the sunflower! The hard part is over and next you get to decide how you would like to do the background.
White does look lovely, but I decided to paint the background ultramarine blue!
13. Paint the background ultramarine blue using a 1/4″ flat brush.
The flat brush really helps to cut in on those petals especially when you turn it on its side to use the straight edge of the tip.
The background was painted in a solid two coats of ultramarine blue. I ended up having to do two coats because the paint I was using was a bit translucent.
To get into some of the tight corners, use that 5/0 round brush or the smallest brush you have.
Wait for the blue to dry if you are going to do the white spiral designs in the background.
14. Paint the sides of the canvas.
I don’t give much detail when I paint the sides. I just use a solid coat or two of the color that is directly next to it as if the design is stretching on the sides.
To paint the petals on the sides, I only used cadmium yellow hue and did not worry about the shading or anything.
The left side of the canvas was pretty much all cadmium yellow hue.
A view of the top after it was complete. The right side of the canvas (not pictured) is solid blue and the bottom is similar to the top.
15. Let the ultramarine blue dry then paint some spiral designs with titanium white.
I started with the petal tips and painted little dots.
Then I painted little spirals.
The background was pretty much filled with spirals! I may have went a bit overboard but they were just too addicting to paint!
So pretty and cheerful!
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You understand, right. I now have you, I dont want without you, I dont want anyone, as a woman, I mean, if we go together, maybe, as they say to us, or rather. I dont have to be with her….
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That day Vitaly looked not quite ordinary, formally and outwardly imperceptible, but I have known him for three years, I remember how sparks were lit in his eyes. How they burned with excitement, from the expectation of a meeting. It was so now, two years later, after our breakup.