Step by Step Art Project for Teens: Spring Poppies

Spring is upon us and while some of us are cooped up indoors, why not bring spring inside? With this easy to follow step by step art project for teens, you’ll have your very own spring poppies to enjoy year-round.

Step by Step Art Project for Teens

I’m lucking enough in California to have our state flower growing in my front yard!

Check out another one of my acrylic step by step tutorials: Color Field Painting For Kids: Inspired By Alma Thomas

Supplies needed for this project are:

  • Acrylic Paint – (White, Red, Yellow, Blue, Green)
  • Canvas or Canvas Board (We used and 8 x 10)
  • Paintbrushes (at least one square tip and one round tip)
  • Paint Palette
  • Water Container
  • Paper Towels (not shown)

Step by Step Art Project for Teens – Let’s Get Started!

The first step of this project is to create the sky for the background.

Using your blue and white paint, paint a gradient sky by mixing the blue you would like to start with (a large amount) and painting it across the top.

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As you work your way down the canvas continue to add more white paint to lighten the sky.  Acrylics dry fast, you may need to add a little water to help the paint flow better and spread easier.

Wait for the sky to dry completely before starting the next layer.

Next step:  Paint the Poppies!

The paintbrush will be loaded with two colors to create the basic poppy petal.  First, add orange (mix your red and yellow) to one side of the brush and yellow to the other.  Stroke the brush on the palette to load the brush with the mixed paint in both colors.  This will create a gradient brushstroke for the poppy petals.

Poppies tend to grow in a triangular cone-like shape and open wider as the sun shines throughout the day.  To create the poppy petal, lay the brush flat (lighter color on top) and drag the brush with a squiggle motion to create a curved edge for the petal.  You can drag the brush down on each edge to complete the flower shape.

Once you have the basic shape, fill in the rest of the poppy with the smaller brush.  You can darken the orange with a little red toward the tip of the petal to add a bit more dimension.

Note:  If your paint is too transparent and the sky is showing through too much, add a touch of white to the yellow to make it more opaque.  You can also lighten your orange with a bit of yellow and white.

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Plan where you would like each poppy and paint the first basic petal.  Vary the sizes of the poppies to increase the sense of depth in your painting. Allow this layer to dry and then continue to add more petals to each poppy.

Poppies have 4 petals, but not all the flowers need to be the same or have all 4 petals showing.  Allow each layer of petals to dry before adding the next layer.

Once the petals are finished, using your smaller brush and green paint, add the small portion of the stem that connects to each flower and paint the stems trailing off the bottom of the canvas.

Finishing Touches…

To add a bit more realism to the stems, mix a lighter and darker version of the green paint as well.  Include some darker and lighter stems to add dimension.

Once the stems are complete, you can add a few smaller strokes here and there to add a little more interest.

Voila! Your poppy painting is finished!

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About the author

Crystal has worked in the arts and taught drawing and painting for over 25 years in Los Angeles. She loves creating art, gardening, planning fun art projects, and enjoying creative adventures with her family. Find out more at

View all articles by Crystal Foth

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