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"Fabulous Flowers": Celebrate Color

"Fabulous Flowers": Celebrate Color

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"Fabulous Flowers": Celebrate Color

250 pages
3 hours
Apr 29, 2013


Flowers celebrate color. Painting flowers is all about riotous color and pattern. This ebook literally oozes vitality as you explore with Ev Hales the development of paintings that are based on flowers. Learn how to paint less and say more. Discover colors you didn’t know existed – what is even better learn ways to mix color. Explore the magic of flowers and their designs and discover ways to present the flowers you love to your painting audience. Build an understanding of painting techniques and subject issues which will empower you to interpret flowers through line, color or design. Practical discussions and over 100 images explore color, technique and media available to the floral artist. The subject analysis is relevant to all artistsand you will find examples in a variety of media including oil, pastel, pen and wash and watercolour. The watercolor medium is explored in detail with many different techniques discussed during the step by step examples.
Apr 29, 2013

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"Fabulous Flowers" - Ev Hales


1. Introduction

Flowers are an excuse for outrageous color. Nature creates the most intense, subtle, unlikely color combinations in flowers that enrich our natural world.

Flowers surround us in nature, our homes and our work places. Some of our strongest memories are linked to specific flowers or certain scents - a hint of the smell of sweet honeysuckle, so prevalent in my grandparents’ day, takes me instantly back to my childhood. The distinctive smell of tomato plants, when my dad would nip the new growth from between the stems to encourage less foliage on the plant, is a strong link to childhood. A bowl of roses will fill a room with fragrance and I used to say I would not paint roses until I could paint one you could ‘smell’. I am not sure I am there yet, but I am having great fun trying. Flowers enrich our world on many levels as well as being beautiful to look at.

For thousands of years flowers have inspired artisans with imagery for jewellery design, architectural features, fabric designs, paintings as well as being used by poets and songwriters. An artist can be botanically perfect with their interpretation, wildly abstract or anything in between. Flowers will always be a source for artistic endeavors.

Some people dismiss flowers as being purely for the botanical artist or as a frivolous subject matter. These artists do not know what they are missing. For any serious painter the color possibilities and complexities presented by flowers will add enormously to their understanding and use of color through all their work. Where else can you see a huge range of any hue you care to mention in such a small area as a bunch of flowers? The nuances found across a single hue will keep you mixing for months to try and replicate the clarity and complexity found in nature.

I paint flowers purely for my own pleasure and I rarely exhibit these works. This is not because I do not think of them as serious pieces but more because they are my personal moments.

Flowers are interesting at every stage of their life cycle. There is a sense of urgency because you know in a day or two this stage will be gone as the flower changes. The transient quality of life is inherent in flowers and I strive to capture this. I like to include the imperfections that appear rather than just seek perfection. These imperfections will often have a story of their own to tell. I do not subscribe to the ‘pin the petals in place until I have finished the painting’ school of floral artists - if the petals fall, so be it, get another flower or paint it minus one or two petals ... or just paint faster.

Flowers herald the seasons in nature. Flowers are most obvious in Spring or when the plant is ready to start the rejuvenation process. Fresh buds appear, flowers develop, fertilization takes place, if the bees are doing their job, petals fall, the seed pod enlarges and the seed matures. The plant continues its life cycle. Some plants flower only once and then the plant dies. Others are perennial or seasonal with an ongoing life cycle. Trees and large shrubs flower and continue to grow until the next cycle. Deciduous trees lose all their foliage in winter as the tree changes its look completely from a mass of green to linear twigs and branches. In Spring the flowers appear, sometimes before the leaves, signaling that a new life cycle has started all over again. If the flowers are bountiful the harvest will be rich, or at least, the potential is there for a very good season. If the flowers are scant then the fruit will be in short supply. Therefore flowers are crucial to our well-being, in more ways than one.

The rhythm of this process is something we register only subconsciously. The connection is getting more distanced as we live in bigger and bigger cities where the signs of nature are not as easy to see.

This cycle offers the artist a year round feast of material for inspiration.

Modern living has changed some of the preciousness of flowers because instead of seeing certain kinds of flowers at a particular time of the year, modern transportation ensures that florists can import flowers from the other side of the world and we can pretend we live in perpetual springtime. Combinations of flowers for still life are therefore more diverse than in the past, when only local seasonal flowers were available to be used.

In the ebook you are reading the potential offered by this fascinating subject is explored. I will develop strategies for seeing the essence of the different kinds of flowers and ways to capture that with simplicity, if that is what you desire. Because flowers really do color our world - color becomes a key issue where I address some of the color issues that are of interest to the artist. Pattern is another crucial element that frees the artist to paint loosely or botanically. Discussion of pattern and how to use it to create instantly recognizable flowers without having to include everything is a key technique that is discussed. From drawing to creativity with color flowers are an unlimited source of inspiration.

The world would be a poorer place without flowers to color our world.

2. Flower Patterns

All flowers have a distinctive pattern. This pattern will exist in the flower formation, color, leaf shape and how it grows whether singly or in a group.

I am going to explore some of the patterns of flowers that people paint often. This will demonstrate how to analyze for yourself flowers that interest you. Drawing, designing and painting all add something different to your understanding of the flowers you chose to work with. This analysis of the pattern has nothing to do with different genus because you will find flowers that are incredibly similar even though they belong to a different family. In these instances it will possibly be the leaf or flower color that will define them.

Central radial patterns: something that radiates from a central point. This is possibly the most common pattern. The kinds of centers vary enormously and become a key feature.

Examples include daisies, gerberas, dahlias, chrysanthemums, roses, cornflowers, poppies ranunculas, anenomes, blossom, and so on.

All these flowers have a central point from which all petals radiate. Some of these flowers have a single layer of petals - others have multiple layers which form almost a hemisphere.

The differences between the two revolve around the three - dimensional form of the flower. Also there are big differences in the shape and number of petals across these species.

Flowers do not come much simpler than the single daisy.

Figure 5 shows a way to draw the flower for understanding. The basic drawing reveals the shape - outer and inner circles, one the edge of the petals, the other the center hub. The strong center holds petals that are all very similar in length and width. The edge is the area where you will find variation and interest. Some petals sit more closely together, some separate toward the edge, making a gap on the perimeter that can be a feature. Usually the flower is a little more shaded in the center and where the petals softly roll, the segment closer to the light will be lighter. The small segments of shadow near the tip indicate the petal is falling underneath. This is a way to add interest to your painting.

When viewed on the side the biggest change is where the centre is positioned. In Figure 6 there are several different scenarios illustrated. The first shows the flower as it is opening. One side of the flower has petals that are coming straight toward me, or foreshortened. This means I cannot see any length in these petals just their tips, almost like triangles. Sometimes these will curl and hide the centre from this viewpoint.

On the other flower the petals are beginning to fall back, exposing the centre ready for the pod to form. In this view we have another set of circumstances, and this angle can offer some really interesting possibilities. The petals falling down behind the flower are in deep shade. The petals coming towards me are shorter and one is hiding the centre. There is a lovely, informal quality to the flower from this angle.

This selection Figure 7 reveals how different the centers of radial flowers can be. These can be one of the defining features of a flower. I love the depth of the anenomes, top left, where the centers almost look like black velvet. These examples show how different the petal formation can be - some overlap, some layer, single, masses, round and thin - all adds to the variety and interest.

Figure 8 is radial in its pattern but the shape of the petal is quite different to the daisy. When arranged the petals

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