Peonies are large, vibrantly colored, bushy flowers that bloom in the mid to late summer. Peonies are indigenous to the western half of North America, Asia and parts of Europe. One peony blossom will often have a multitude of petals, all of which appear to be in disarray. These blossoms have a yellow center, but the blossoms are often so packed with petals that the center is not visible.
Dip your medium-sized flat or filbert paintbrush in a medium-green paint. Apply the paintbrush to the canvas and paint a medium-thin line that expands at the end and becomes bulbous in shape. This is the stem of the peony--the bulbous end is the area where the stem attaches to the peony.
Dip another medium-sized flat or filbert paintbrush into the paint you have chosen for your peony blossom. Remember peony blossoms may be red, magenta, light pink, white or yellow.
Apply the paintbrush to the end of the stem where it attaches to the blossom. Paint a long line moving outward to the right along the bottom edge of the blossom. Eventually the line will curve upward slightly, at the edge of the blossom. This is the bottom petal on the right side.
Repeat step 3, painting a second long line, this time following the left edge of the peony blossom. The line will curve upward at the edge of the blossom. This is the bottom petal on the left side.
Dip your paintbrush in the color of the peony again. Apply the paintbrush to the middle inside of the blossom and paint a second layer of petals (one on the far right, and one on the far left), repeating the same actions you performed in steps 3 and 4. The edges of these two petals will not come quite to the edge of the bottom two petals you painted, so that the blossom will get progressively more narrow. Paint a few shorter petals sticking upward in the middle of these two petals you have just painted.
Repeat step 5 over and over, each time painting a new layer of petals above the old layer, so that the peony blossom grows upward and inward, getting increasingly more narrow as it goes. As you create new layers, mix small amounts of white with the color you are using for the petals, so that the top petals appear to be catching the light.
To paint a bush of peonies, use your medium-sized brush to paint a large, rounded leafy plant. Wait for the paint to dry, then add details such as individual leaves, stems and peony blossoms themselves.