Painting Flowers

Flowes - Curtis Green

A lot of comments are made by artists about painting flowers.  Flowers are an attractive subject, but also one of the most difficult for a painter.  Why?  One reason is in the translation of the subject matter into a painting.  Often the intention at the beginning of the painting turns into something very different as the process goes on.  The attraction may be the variety of color, the “prettiness” of the subject, maybe the challenge of so much detail of every leaf and petal.  There are so many ways to approach an arrangement of flowers.

Personally, I like to discard the want of a pretty picture by ignoring all the colors and petals as the basis, and instead going for the mood of the arrangement.  For instance, the quiet nature of the arrangement as a whole is easier to grasp and therefore grab onto for interpretation into a painting.  The overall shape directs my eye to one part perhaps, where a petal is falling off, which gives me a sense of an offering the flower has.   The light might be illuminating one particular part which may set the sentimental tone the painting should therefore communicate, whether somber, introspective or joyous.  Working in large masses of general tonality and color first, then “pulling” out the petals with little detail works best for me.  The intention I typically have for painting flowers is allow the strokes to impart the suggestion of the flowers so as to not overpower their soft and delicate aspects.

This little study was done outdoors on an unseasonably warm day with just  two colors and two neutrals.  I hope to do more of these.

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