A Creative and Personalized Pastime
For many with or without artistic talent, one of their most enjoyable activities is taking an easel and some paints and setting out to create something special on their canvas. As art is a very personal undertaking, whatever pleases an artist is adequate justification for the effort. There are many different categories of subjects worthy of painting, including landscapes, nature, portraits, abstract and still life.
There are also many different mediums that artists use. These include acrylic, watercolor, colored pencil, mixed media, pastel, and ink. In addition to these choices, there are numerous styles of painting, ranging from abstract, photorealism, whimsical and composite. As all these options indicate, painting is a hobby that allows an individual full expression of their own tastes and preferences.
There are a large number of people that choose still life as their preferred subject matter. Within this field, painting plants and flowers is a specialty that produces some stunning art. Some of the art world’s best known artists have focused on flowers and produced true masterpieces. Artists like Georgia O’Keefe. Igor Sakharov and Vincent van Gogh produced works that capture the imagination of critics and fans even today.
For those with an interest in this area, there are a number of basic tips and suggestions that can help produce beautiful paintings. Below is a general discussion of some of these points to ponder. While some of the information is basic, it is sometimes good to stop and review and polish up on those basics.
Choosing a Style
As many accomplished artists have demonstrated, the flower makes an excellent subject in any medium and style. A number of the most popular works, however, use oils and center on the photorealistic style. Studying those works can provide great inspiration for any aspiring artist. As an individual artist develops a personal touch to standard techniques, such as multi-layering, their work will take on its own personality.
One reason many artists prefer working with oils is its versatility. Properly used, oils can actually mimic other mediums, such as watercolor. Of course, the primary attraction to the use of oil is that it produces works with great longevity and durability. The oils today are far superior to those available to early masters, even those whose works have survived hundreds of years. With water-based oil products, many more people now feel comfortable using them as their preferred medium.
Selecting a Basic Palette
For any artist, the selection and use of colors is at the core of the process of creating a work of art. Even monochromes focus on shades and variations. Since most works dealing with flowers utilize color, there is a need for a basic palette with which the artist can gain comfort and skill. Such a palette might contain the following basic colors:
- Yellow ocher
- Ivory/Mars black
- Titanium white
- Cadmium red medium
- Prussian blue
- Burnt umber
- Alizarin crimson red
- Yellow cadmium light
- Greens mixed to personal preference
Once a palette is assembled, gaining a level of competence with it is essential. The use of the right brushes and accents to create just the right effect is something that only comes with patience, practice and persistence.
The Role of Drawing
Anyone familiar with classic artists understands and appreciates their emphasis on drawing skills. Sketches and detailed drafts were the standard before beginning any painting. Many artists today, depending on their preferred style, put a great deal of emphasis on refining their basic drawing and drafting skills.
However, don’t worry if you were not born with the ability to draw. Today, you can overcome any deficiency with your own style. At the same time, it is worth the effort to invest some time in learning various basic tricks and skills that involve drawing. It will improve your perspective and end product, regardless of your style.
There are No Shortcuts
One lesson that every aspiring artist must learn early on is that there is no simple or short way to become an accomplished artist. A great deal of time has been spent trying to unravel the mysteries of the masters. In the final analysis, it is safe to say that there are no secrets to art. It is simply a field of persistence and constant training in the skills and techniques necessary to produce works that you enjoy. With any luck, others will also appreciate what you produce.
Technique is an important word and concept for the growing artist. From paints to brush strokes, there are basic lessons to learn that combined will make you an accomplished painter.
Know Your Subject
Whether or not you choose to first draw or sketch your flower subject, it is important to know how a flower is constructed. Learning how to identify the stigma, sepal and ovary, among other components, will go a long way in preparing you to properly paint those elements of the flower. This knowledge is also helpful in studying other paintings of flowers. As you become familiar with how a flower grows and is structured, you will be able to add those elements to your own work more effectively.
The biology of flowers not only produces the same structural elements, there are a limited number of basic shapes that dictate the overall appearance of a flower. Identifying and getting comfortable with those shapes is a useful skill in approaching a particular style of flower. It also helps deal with the issue of what angle and perspective you choose for your rendition of its appearance.
There are tools available today that help in such things as getting the proportions of a flower correct. A proportional divider can greatly ease the challenge of this critical step in any still life drawing. A little time spent working with some of these tools can literally save years of learning basic techniques.
The Main Priority
There is a conflict in today’s world with producing great art and overcoming its challenges. That issue is time. In a world of instant gratification, it is essential for the artist to keep the right perspective and allow time to be an ally, not a barrier in the painting process. Above all, remember the number one priority – that, of course, is to have fun with the process.