How to Paint a Poppy in Acrylics

How to Paint a Poppy in acrylics one easy stroke at a time. Poppies are such a friendly flower and painting them can be so much fun.  Paint a field of them or a still life. Paint them in different colors if you choose.

In this post, I am going to show you how to paint a  poppy in acrylics.  I love painting poppies as much as growing them. Recently I shared how to paint a large red poppy and now I show you smaller versions. In this tutorial, I have chosen red but you can paint them any colors you wish.

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How to Paint a Poppy

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This is going to be so much fun!  I loved doing this tutorial and the video too.  I want to paint a canvas of these and, of course, I will share when I do.

Start with a Double Loaded Brush

1. First we double load our #12 brush with one of the Wine colors or Crimson and Orange.

2. Now stroke on a scallop stroke, try to keep the Orange tight in the center and rotate the Wine color around the outside edge while wiggling your brush to create the waves in the petal. Click here for a full tutorial on basic strokes

First stroke in poppy painting tutorial

No need to be perfect, this petal is going towards the back of the flower and will be overlapped. You can view the same type stroke on a Pansy here by tapping here.

Paint Poppy Side Petals

3. Do another of the same stroke on either side of this one overlapping it a bit.
4. Add a fourth if you wish to as I did,  but play it by ear, or maybe I should say eye.

second and third stroke in poppy painting

Pounce in the Center

5. Dip a scruffy brush in Burnt Umber just on one corner, and a smidge of black, the tiniest bit of black.  With black, a little goes a looooong way.

6. Pounce or stipple on a round center keeping the black to the bottom.

Pounce center of poppy painting

7. You can let that dry or you can go ahead and go over the center while it is wet, it will pull some of the brown and black into the next stroke but that is not always a bad thing.  The choice is yours.

Lower Petals

8. Double load your #12 brush with the Wine and Orange colors again and start another scallop stroke, you will note I am overlapping the center slightly.

Lower petal poppy painting

About halfway or a bit more through the scallop stroke you will lift your brush and drag it to the center instead of finishing the scallop.

Lower petal poppy painting

9. Do the same on the other side of the center.

Lower petal poppy painting

If your brown and black was still wet you will have some of it streaking into the red and orange but that adds interest and some shadowing.

Paint a Poppy Stem

10. Now clean your brush and double load it with some dark green and Foliage green.

Paint Poppy Stem

11. Drag your brush on the chisel edge down to create a stem, lead with the lighter color.

12. Add side tendrils.

13. To make a bud you can either do 2 C strokes that meet our do a loop stroke to create the bud.  The video does a great job of showing you this it is around 5:30 on the video.

Paint Poppy bud

How to Paint Poppy Leaves

The leaves are another entire post located here. It was made to go with my Large Red Poppy lesson but it works for these poppies as well, just smaller.

So go paint up a bunch of poppies.  Paint them on furniture, pillows, garden art, you name it.

Surface, your choice, I painted these on a painted board and some on painting paper.
Paint: DecoArt Americana or Folk Art Craft Acrylic
Alizarin Crimson or Napthol Crimson
Burgundy Wine or Berry Wine
Tangelo Orange or Medium Orange
Cadmium Yellow or School Bus Yellow
Evergreen or Thicket
Foliage Green or Fresh Foliage
Burnt Umber or Burnt Umber
Lamp Black or Licorice

FolkArt Floating Medium

Plaid One Stroke brush set  or Royal Majestic 6 piece Set Shader Brushes
Brush Caddy

Books I am loving…
The Art of Painting Flowers
Flowers A to Z with Donna Dewberry

Poppies painting in acrylics with play button overlay, video

For a full list of my favorite painting supplies click here

More Painting Tutorials You Would Enjoy!
How to Paint Carnations
How to Paint Roses on Glass
How to Paint a Beach Scene

Happy Painting!

Please enjoy and share!

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  1. You have such a talent! I am just starting to attempt painting, just for fun and relaxation. I feel inspired watching you!

  2. I tried your poppy technique on a flower pot and it came out perfectly. Your tutorial was very easy to follow!

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