Commissioning a Painting of your Wedding Bouquet: BTS of the Artistic Process

Creativity, Original Paintings, Products, watercolor, Wedding Art

You invest time, thought, money, attention, and an incredible amount of significance in the flowers that surround you on your wedding day. If only they could last forever! Commissioning a painting of your bouquet is a meaningful way to honor the work and beauty that went you’re your wedding-day florals, after all, a painting doesn’t fade or crumble as time goes on, and is a lasting and thoughtful memento of one of the most important days of your life.

This week, I’m sharing a few posts about what goes into creating a personalized wedding bouquet, and if you didn’t have a chance to read the earlier Q&A with client Laura, hop over to this post to read her take on the commission process.

In today’s post, I’m going to walk you through the actual artistic and creative process that goes into creating a painting of a wedding bouquet using Laura’s bouquet as an example of the step-by-step process.

The finished painting. Let me show you how we get to this point 🙂

The first thing is to communicate quite a bit up front–it’s so important for me to understand what you’re looking for, the style you’re interested in, and what you hope the end product will look like so that I can have those goals in mind while I draw and paint.

I always start by asking for lots of good, clear images of the bouquet. These can be from your photographer or from your own camera, but the more pictures the better!

One of the reference photos I used to create Laura’s painting. This was taken by Bradley Moss, who you can find here.

I don’t ever want to just copy directly from a photograph–the photographer is an artist, too, and no one likes to have their work copied–but I do need lots of reference pictures to get a clear idea of what the bouquet looked like. This is especially true because a bouquet is a 3D object, and a painting is a 2D object, so to translate it beautifully and accurately it’s important for me to see the bouquet as close to realistically as possible.

Once I have an idea of what I’m working with (I know your vision for the piece and I have good reference material–I start to sketch out composition ideas. These are usually big, messy shapes on drawing paper so that I can get an idea of the scale that I’ll be working with.

The very first sketches I do are usually just roughly done big shapes.

Next up? I start to pencil in the details. This can be a bit time-consuming, but it is critical to get this stage right before moving on to adding ink or watercolor. Angles, ruffles, petals and more come under scrutiny as I try to translate their shapes and movement to the page.

The drawing on top is the initial pencil sketch, the one on the bottom is the final sketch transferred to watercolor paper.

I offer two styles of art for the wedding bouquets. One features tightly-detailed ink lines and watercolor washes (like the banner of hellebores here:

Ink and watercolor.

And the other style is a looser more free-handed interpretation consisting of only watercolor, like this:

Depending on which style you’re interested in, I’ll either start inking or I start painting. Here’s what it looks like when the inking starts–lots of tiny lines and details, and the shapes really start to pop off the page. (If your bouquet has lots of white flowers, I typically recommend inking just to give the painting more definition.)

Adding inky detail stroke by stroke and line by line.

And then the best part! Watercolor! Lots of beautiful layers add up to gorgeous watercolor paintings. The layers start with watery, pale washes and build up into vivid and deep swathes of color. This is my favorite part as I watch the bouquet transform into a finished and fully realized piece of art.

Layer by layer, the painting starts to take shape.

And the first layers of a looser piece.

Once I’m finished with the painting, I take a break from looking at the piece so that I can come back to it with fresh eyes and add any last-minute details in. I sign it, take a lot of pictures, let you know that the bouquet is done, package it, ship it, and wait to see how you frame and display your finished painting.

Watch a timelapse of the first layers of watercolor on Laura’s bouquet.

Aaand…that’s it! The whole process typically takes between 1-2 months depending on how many other commissions I’m working on. I really enjoy creating these and would love to hear from you if you have any questions about the process or if you’re interested in commissioning your own painting. You can write to me at hello [at] alexsgardenstudio [dot] com or you can go straight to my website and order your own beautiful painting. Stay tuned for the next post in this series–my top tips for brides looking to commission a wedding bouquet painting.

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