Hey fellas. This is going to be a birthday present for a friend of mine, so I'd like it to be pretty good. The dimensions are roughly 9"x17".
Please, be harsh with the crits. I need 'em.
P.S. Tonal values are slightly different from the original thanks to the picture I took. Sorry. :/
I think it needs more of a background.
Don't know if this helps but here goes:
There is a large empty space at the top. It is noticable, which is not nescessarily a bad thing. But it might draw the eye away from the main focus, the flower. But then again, I don't know if it is a deliberate move on your part to create tension in the image. If not you could try to move the flower upwards or maybe crop the top somewhat. Try placing something over the top space (a colored paper, a book, what you can find) and see if it makes the composition better or worse.
On thing you could do. It is not absolutely nescessary. You could darken the lines around the center of the flower. Where the petals are attached and meet the center of the flower (don't know what it is called). I imagine there to be a crevice there, but I havn't seen your reference. This could balance the tones somewhat, since you would have the dark stem at the bottom and some dark lines/area further up the image.
Just some thoughts. Enjoy the birthday party
Taking advice from me is like taking a blind date to a silent movie
(semiquote from Geoffrey Parfitt)
It's very plain throughout the whole thing and the petals look flat. More contrast in the right areas would make the flower "pop out" at the viewer. Were you going to write "Happy Birthday" at the top or something? It'd be a good place for it.
You want some? 'Cause you're looking at it like you want some.