http://www.decoart.com/cgi-bin/Projects.cgi?Poinsettia2011 there is also a pattern for this painting which you can down load as well. Trudy Beard has kindly given permission to use her painting and pattern, so if you are going to use it please acknowledge her in your credits.
I have also found a clip art image that is free to use. http://www.christmas-clipart.com/free_christmas_clip_art_images/poinsettia_flower_drawing_with_poinsettia_text_0515-0912-1115-3025.html you may like to use.
If you may have a favourite image that is okay. I have written this tutorial in Photoshop Elements 9 and refrained from using my painting programs and exotic filters.
The technique I favour in digital painting is to create a line drawing of the image and paint the individual elements. So lets get started. I have selected the main flower in Trudy's painting, and to even out the composition I added a leaf . The following file is in PNG format if you wish to use the pattern, but I will be creating layers with the individual line drawings.
Also download the painting, in the following image I have cut and pasted the main flower into a different background. It will be your choice as to whether you paint all three flowers.
I will leave a colour swatch at Digital Whisper for your use.
Step 1. Download your image of the poinsettia and cut and paste the image into a new document, create a new layer above the flower and fill with 50% grey and lower the opacity to around 70%
Step 2. Create a new layer and beginning with the lower left hand leaf with a hard round brush at about 3-5 pixels and colour fl7 from the colour swatch (47402d) trace around the leaf.
Before proceeding to the painting of the leaf, I want to discuss painting techniques and brushes. I always begin with the darkest colour and a low opacity and then gradually increase the opacity with paint strokes. I will then add other colours again at a low opacity. This way you can control the build up of colour. I also will smudge every now and then to "move" colour and blend. I also will add a a small colour palette on the layer I am working on and it is here that you can blend colours to use.
Brushes. There are a lot of speciality brushes that can be downloaded, but I use those in the default brush set and may vary the brushes properties. #23, #63 and 66 are ones that I use most of the time with a splatter brush. When I use the smudge tool I will use one of these brushes. The size of the brush can be varied to suit the painting.
Step 3 Begin painting your leaf, gradually changing colours. To check your progress hide the flower layer. You do not want the transparent layer showing, although sometimes I do leave the original painting underneath.
As the coverage is not 100% I will continue to add colour and blend.
Step 4. When you have added your final details it is time to see how accurately you have painted. I lower the opacity of the painted leaf layer, and add a mask layer, and clean up the edges using the original painting as a guide. Note: you can hide the grey layer until needed for the next step.
Step5 Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the remainder of the painting. I look to see which elements are in the background and paint these in order. Also look at your painting for light and shadow.
Here, in the image below I have completed the leaves from around the left-hand-side to the lower right and have three leaves to paint, plus the flower petals.
Remember this is your painting and your style maybe different from mine. Have fun with your painting and I will post my completed painting at a later date. Remember that there are a variety of standard filters in Photoshop to use. Play with opacity and blending settings. You can also choose your own background in which to place your flower.
There are numerous ways to digitally paint and I am sure your will find one that suits your style.
Any questions please ask.