Sunflowers, poppies, roses, petunias and many other flowers give the artist the ideal opportunity to use pure colours, but the resultant artwork may turn out to be a disappointment. The following may need addressing.
Floral Painting for Beginners
The flower painting can only be as good as the resources available. This may include the reference material such as the photograph or the quality of the subject matter, the lighting, the artist materials and the artist’s perseverance. The following guidelines will ensure a good start.
Painting from a Photo
Working from a photograph to a painting is an excellent way of getting to grips with painting flowers before having a go at depicting them from life. But the photograph depicting the flower must:
- Have good definition
- Be taken in natural daylight, or better still, sunlight whether this is outside or indoors
- Be reasonably close up to the subject matter
Painting Flowers in a Still Life
Painting a still life setting with flowers under subdued artificial light, such as a candle or a lamp can look very effective and eliminate the pressures of the shifting light. But some artists may embrace the challenge of painting flowers in natural light. A few pointers will make the setting more interesting:
- Flowers can be found in the garden in any season, and most will provide interesting shapes and colours for the artist to explore when incorporated in a still life setting
- Juxtaposing conflicting colours against one another such as violet and yellow will often create a focal point
- Placing an unusual object next to the flowers will create interesting contrasts in objects
- Shifting the angle a little will change the composition and the way the shadows fall and can be used to maximum effect
Painting Tips for Painting Flowers
- Don’t be afraid to use bright colours neat from the tube for expressing the colour of flower heads.
- Applying the sunlit or pale colours before the shaded areas will ensure the rich colours of the flower heads will not be contaminated by the dark colour
- Don’t use black to darken the colour of the petals, but its complimentary colour, which is any opposing colour on the colour wheel
- Periodically standing back from the painting and using a wider brush than one might expect, will add boldness to any floral painting
- A good quality sable is essential for detail. A number 3 or 6 round is often ideal
- Over-mixing a colour might kill the life out of a bright colour. Allowing a few streaks of a colour mix to remain will add expression and life to any flower painting
Further Inspiration for Floral Art
Observing the techniques and practices of artists such as Georgia O’Keefe and Antoine Berjon are likely to prompt the artist to push out the boundaries of flower painting and try something experimental and new.
Fine Art Flower Painting
Producing paintings of flowers gives the artist the rare opportunity of using pure or outlandish colours. Ensuring the resources, such as the photograph or the flowering plants are of good quality is likely to provide a firm grounding for a quality painting of flowers. The artist must try not to be afraid of using bold colours and also to experiment with taking flowers out of context to add interest to the painting. Artists such as Georgia O’Keefe are likely to provide inspiration into further exploration in floral art.