Blog #14 Picking Flowers

‘Tippy Table Top” (diptych) Acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas 20″x40″

One of the marvels of Mother Nature is that she provides us with the most amazing and beautiful subject matter, flowers. It is a wonderful challenge to attempt to paint these often delicate, intricate and vibrant objects. It’s exciting to choose your medium; watercolours, acrylics, mixed media, pen and ink or pastels? Which way to go? Plus what style of painting should be employed? High realism or loose and impressionistic, possibly abstract? So many options and if you are like me you might enjoy doing them all! I don’t like to box myself into one creative approach, that can blow out your artistic flame before it’s lit. I say the sky’s the limit and that it’s a great opportunity to try new techniques and colours and formats.

‘Botanical Bliss’ Acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas 20″x16″

My two favourite mediums to use are watercolours and acrylics. They are pretty much polar opposites in texture of paints. When using watercolours you are literally painting with coloured watery puddles tinting the watercolour paper with each layering wash. You achieve lighter colours by adding water thus diluting the paint colour. Your ‘whites’ are the untouched watercolour paper. Now using acrylic paints can be like painting with toothpaste if you use ‘heavy body’ acrylics like I do. You lighten those colours by adding white paint.

‘Floral Fantasy’ Acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas 12″x12″
‘Pretty in Pink’ Acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas 12″x12″
Orange Lilies’ Watercolour Matted and Framed 16″x19″

Both approaches are exciting and provide dynamic gorgeous results. Another fun aspect of painting flowers is that they don’t need to appear real. You can design your own flowers in the colours and shapes you desire. Use wild decorative petals with outlandish patterns and stylized leaves as I did in my acrylic paintings ‘Botanical Bliss’ and ‘Floral Fantasy’. Or if you are depicting an actual species of flower you can keep it loose and flowing with energetic shapes as in my watercolour painting ‘Orange Lilies’. The impressionistic way I painted my acrylic ‘Pretty in Pink’ hints at real flowers in a vase with bold brush strokes and bright colours.

If you prefer to work from reality you can use reference photos of flowers or create your own still life bouquet from flowers out of your garden. Whether you tap into your imagination or rely on reality I think you will find it to be so freeing and fun to design your own floral paintings. So when you are hunting for great subject matter pick flowers!

To see more of my original paintings please go to my gallery pages on this website.