Virtual Art Academy

Still Life Painting – Tuscany Wildflowers

still life painting of wild flowers

It is always nice for me to see my former students do well. This month I was particular pleased to see two of my former Virtual Art Academy and workshops students, the very fine pastel painter Kim Lordier, and the landscape and portrait artist Kathryn Townsend, both placed in the Top 25 on the Connect2Artists website. They were in excellent company. Also in the top 25 were Matt Smith, John Cosby, Brian Blood, Ray Roberts, and Laurie Kersey—all top names amongst the plein air painter community in America, as well as the very fine Russian landscape painter, Vasily Hudkayov. Congratulations to them!

My still life painting, Tuscany Wildflowers was also voted in the Top 25.

About the Painting

I don’t often do still life paintings, but I thought I’d do one using some techniques I’ve been experimenting with recently using a multi-colored imprimatura.

These flowers were placed on an outside bench at an artist friend’s house. Although they were not very strong in color, they had a lot of different textures and subtle color changes. To start with I thought of adding some more colorful roses, but then I began to think maybe I could make something out of this by playing around with the light in the background and the more saturated greens of some of the leaves in the arrangement. The morning light striking a wall behind the bench gave a beautiful light pattern to contrast with the texture of the flowers and provide some interesting shapes for the background.

Cat. No. 1256 Wild Flowers, Tuscany, Italy – 14in x 11in – Oil on Board

I made a lot of use of thick and thin in this painting and used thick impasto strokes in the focal areas. As always I made sure there was a good contrast in the saturation of the colors in the background, and those in the focal areas.

I started off with a lot of thin washes consisting of paint thinned with rectified turpentine. I mixed different colors on the background in the washes and blended them on the canvas to create variations in color. This created a transparent effect.

I was painting on a gessoed board which is what gives the painting its particular texture in the background.

I used very thick paint and definite brushstrokes for the different flowers. I painted these impasto strokes on top of the washes, avoiding over-blending in order to preserve the abstract nature of the painting.

I am using a full spectrum palette with a Daytripper plein air easel, and mostly mixing on the painting, rather than on the palette to find the color harmony.

Thank You

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Please feel free to share it with friends. If you are interested in a structured approach for learning how to paint, take a look at my online painting classes.

Happy painting!

Barry John Raybould
Virtual Art Academy

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