Monday, 22 February 2010

My Flowers Look Garish in My Paintings

The beginner’s floral artwork may portray flowers as having bright colours such as pinks, oranges and reds. The flower heads look flat and idealistic, the same flower head shapes echoing throughout the painting. In an attempt to give the flowers form, the artist may introduce black or dark brown into the colour mix, resulting in dirty colours.

Troubleshooting Floral Art

The culprit of an unsatisfactory oil painting of flowers will often result from the following practices:

  • Painting flowers with the preconception that flower heads always contain bright colours
  • Representing the foliage around the flowers with one green pigment, or a mixture of one blue and yellow throughout
  • Trying to darken a bright colour with black
  • Painting flowers with preconceptions about the shapes of the flower heads, resulting in an idealised flower shape
  • A profusion of too many bright colours may rob the painting of any focal points
  • A cheap artist’s selection box that does not contain the true primary colours is often insufficient to create all the colours required for flower painting, resulting in inferior colour mixes
  • Trying to paint flowers from memory, if the resource at hand is insufficient
The Secret to Painting Flowers with Realism

Dispelling beginner’s mistakes as described, will take the floral artist a long way towards painting more satisfactory botanical art.
  • Never try to darken a bright colour with black. It is better to darken a colour with its complimentary colour, which is the opposing colour on the colour wheel to a given colour. The complimentary colour of red, for instance, is green; the complimentary colour of yellow is violet.
  • Flower heads often contain sombre colours, such as dark earth colours and neutrals which can be seen if the flower heads are in shade
  • Fluorescent colours often seen when sun shines through petals can be emphasised if the background around the bright colour is dark
  • Applying a neutral-coloured wash of diluted acrylic paint prior to painting flowers will help the artist measure the tonal values of flowers, as opposed to applying bright colours straight onto a white painting surface.
  • Observing flowers out of their normal context, such as next to rusty tools or from an unusual viewpoint, such as from above, will help the artist get a fresh view of flowers.
  • Sensitive observation of the shape of flowers will often surprise. The robust shapes found in a painting of sunflowers, or the graceful loops found in the clematis deserves exploration
Oil Painting Mediums for Painting Flowers

Experimenting with different artist painting mediums will provide a multilayered feel to a painting of flowers. Mixing linseed oil into a colour mix and applying it over a dry area of paint will provide an effect like tinted glass. This oil painting technique is known as “glazing.” To emphasise texture, impasto medium can be mixed with the oil paint and applied onto the flower heads to make them appear to stand out of the painting.

Essential Art Materials for Floral Art

The primary colours must be included within the artist’s palette when painting flowers. These are labelled differently according to the paint manufacturers. Some include the word “process” or “permanent” with the hue name. In oil paint, permanent rose, cadmium yellow (pale) and pthalo blue will provide clean secondaries such as orange and violet hues.

White with a hint of burnt sienna will provide brilliant creams often seen in bedding plants. Viridian green, a garish green on its own, will provide beautiful greens if muted with burnt sienna, burnt umber or permanent rose. However, keen observation will reveal that any colour can be found in flowers, some of which will surprise.

Links on Painting Flowers

No comments: