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Tuesday 10 February 2009



Whether you are doing one for yourself or for a gift, flower paintings are always popular.

Choosing the flowers, setting them up and deciding on the medium needs a little consideration.

There are literally a million options, but here is what I recommend.

Choose flowers with large, strong leaves and petals with simple shapes. I prefer a glass vase because I'm intrigued by the magnification, distortion and refraction of the stems below the water line. Your personal taste - or a painting you've seen - will help you decide on what you want to paint. However, here are some recommendations. Put the flowers in a vase on a piece of fabric in a strong light against a neutral background. The strong light will cast strong shadows which will make it easier to see the shape of the leaves, petals, etc. The neutral cloth will help the flowers stand out in your composition (rather than compete with what's going on in the background).

If you want a smaller, more intimate painting, why not try a watercolour on paper. These are quicker to do, usually smaller, and they're easy to post if you need to. Simply roll them up and send them in a tube. After you've painted your watercolour, try outlining the drawing with a black "keyline". This sometimes adds a remarkable element of integration.

For a more studied work, use acrylic on canvas.

Whatever medium, start with a drawing, which you need to do as accurately as you can, paying careful attention to the positive and negative spaces. (See other postings on this subject). With acrylics, try to prefer pure colours, mixed with white if necessary, wherever possible. (Mixing too many colours together will result in a degree of muddiness which means you may end up with a drab overall effect).

For ideas about what kind of flowers to paint, what style to paint them in and what medium to use, go to "images" when you do a simple search on the internet, such as "Flower paintings by famous artists".

The top example is a painting in acrylic of flowers with large, obvious leaves and petals in a glass jar on a simple piece of cloth against a neutral background.

The middle painting is painted with pure colours wherever possible.

The bottom example is a watercolour, showing the effect of a black "keyline".

For mor information on these paintings please email:

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