Virtual Art Academy
still life painting of wild flowers

Still Life Painting – Tuscany Wildflowers

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

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.

Still Life Painting - Tuscany Wildflowers 1

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.

Still Life Painting - Tuscany Wildflowers 2

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.

Still Life Painting - Tuscany Wildflowers 3

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.

Still Life Painting - Tuscany Wildflowers 4

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.