According to The Mustard Seed Garden, each flower should have five petals. The smaller, narrow petals curl and the larger ones are broad and straight. Stamens are indicated by dark dots of ink. When the flowers face the viewer, the dark dots are in the center. When the flower is viewed from the back, the stamens are seen on either side of the middle petal. When stamens are on the side, the flower is being viewed from the side.
Painting the orchid petals is a lot more difficult than it looks! A written description is not the best, but let me try:
- Hold the brush upright,filled with light to medium ink.
- If starting at the center of the flower, start with very gentle pressure, and then increase it slowly as you curve the brush a little, to curve the petal. Near the end of the petal, raise the brush up, and back over the petal you have just painted.
- If starting at the the end of the petal and moving toward the heart of the flower, begin with pressing down and then curving toward the center, raising the brush as you move until the tip glides up off the paper in a gentle arc. You may want to retreat a little over the narrow part as you lift your brush.
Painting the stems is rather like dancing the waltz – a dip, a sway. If you look at the picture above, you will see that the stems have a bit of a bulge at either end. This is done with an upright brush put straight down on the paper, a little pause before moving it, and then a slight pause with light pressure at the end before lifting the brush from the paper. Do it to the beat of a waltz – a one, two, and a three – or to the equivalent of ONE (push brush down) two (pause and begin lifting brush and moving toward the end of the stem) THREE (push down, and lift, retreating over the painted area).
In particular, this one is good for how to paint the flowers themselves:
The painter is listed in YouTube as “yanghaiying” if you care to do a search for her.
Dotting the Heart
To “dot the heart” of the orchid is to bring the flower to bloom. To do this, dark ink is used. A brush that is relatively dry is also best, as then the ink will not bleed into the brush’s bristles nor onto the paper. Waiting until the petals have dried also helps.
To create the stroke, I begin with the brush upright, push the tip down gently, and then curve and lift the bush up at the same time. Observe some videos to see how the artist moves the brush – and watch it over and over to observe the movement of the artist, how the brush bristles are manipulated, how the brush is turned. Be patient – that little flick! is tricky! Once you accomplish that, you will be able to create some incredibly beautiful dots.
Just remember – it takes practice. People don’t “just paint”! Practicing all these little steps, leaves, petals, dots, and lines will give you the skill, knowledge and dexterity to create a seemingly simple painting.
Putting all these steps together will give you a lovely orchid!