NOAPS welcomes Spring with floral paintings by some of our artist members. Their inspiration, the story behind the art, or the feelings that led each artist to the creation process.
WILLIAM COLGLOUGH THOMAS
The ‘Snowflake’ Oakleaf Hydrangea holds a special significance for my adopted hometown. This is the signature flower of Aldridge Gardens, in the city of Hoover, Greater Birmingham, AL. The plant was once extremely rare, but native to the Alabama woods. Story has it that in 1969, Loren Aldridge, who owned a horticultural business, and his son Eddie were approached by a neighbor with a bloom from a hydrangea that neither had seen before. They asked the neighbor if they might be taken to the plant, which was in poor condition. Cuttings were taken, propagated, rooted and carefully nurtured, in spite of several near catastrophes, including the death of the original plant. After years of propagation and cultivation, they patented it in 1971. This artwork was painted from one of the original remaining cutting plants flourishing on Aldridge Gardens – William
I start spring painting apple blossoms and plum blossoms. As the gardens come into bloom, I start painting them. My favorite time of day to paint is in the early morning hours. I paint with an open box M on either gessoed masonite or linen and canvas glued on wooden panels in sizes from 8″x10″ to 12″x16″. I paint alla prima on my garden scenes, so I don’t want the canvas size too large. I am trying to keep the painting vibrant and fresh with color where the only thing missing is the smell of spring! – Rick
The themes for the fourth wedding anniversary are flowers and fruit. My gift for my Artist wife, Beth de Loiselle, on our fourth was this painting of Parrot tulips (her favorite) and strawberries. I included 5 of both to symbolize the year to come. The circular composition is designed to hold the eye with all lines converging toward the center. As a fun detail element I included ladybugs to reference Ann Didusch Schuler, our mentor, and Beth’s inspiration for becoming a floral artist; she included insects into her still-lives to give something to find after the first impression. -Hans
My floral trilogy is a distinct reflection of my emotions at the time each is put to canvas. Violet Edge was painted after losing my Mother to cancer. Another of my paintings, Crimson Dew, was a result of hurt and anger I was feeling from a particularly trying time.
My latest “work-in-progress” is a reflection of my faith in God….and perseverance – making it through life’s inevitable storms and coming out much stronger and happier on the other side. – Ginny
After setting up and photographing the still life I have chosen, I sketch from life and from my photos directly on the gesso board using charcoal and/or graphite. Once I am satisfied with the sketch, I underpaint with a combination of turpentine and burnt sienna. Once the underpainting is completed, I begin adding multiple layers of color slowly reducing the amount of turpentine and adding more linseed oil in each layer. I paint many layers—usually between ten and twenty glazes until I am satisfied with my result. — Larry
“The Hibiscus plant is believed to be native to China and most of the varieties grown in Florida are probably hybrids. Its flowers last one to two days maximum and they can be red, orange, yellow, white, lavender, brown or any of these color combinations. “These particular hibiscuses are from my garden in West Florida” – Joyce
BETH de LOISELLE
Parrot Tulips are one of my favorite varieties of flowers with their bright colors and delicate frayed edges. They symbolize a rite of Spring juxtaposed against a luminous sky with my signature intense colors. The composition ushers out the drear of winter by the dark cloud in the upper right. I placed the bouquet on a formal column for a more contemporary feel. I truly enjoy painting flowers and I enjoy conducting workshops on how to paint them. A one day workshop is available in April – Beth
Spider lilies are often seen blooming on our Florida Rivers, but these were beautifully highlighted by a shaft of light. When I painted them I worked in layers from a dark background to the bright white of the flower itself. Working in acrylics made the process easier because the layers dry quickly. The bright white took several layers to achieve the light effect I wanted. – Jeanette
This painting shows a bouquet of Dahlias I saw at the flower market in Rome, Italy. I was intrigued by the variety of shapes and colors of the flowers. Dahlias are native of Mexico and Central America and they were introduced to Europe in 1789. They can be red, purple, lilac or yellow. — Katherine
With such a harsh winter this year, I have been in the floral department of the grocery store where I have seen gorgeous roses …especially for Valentine’s Day… and I couldn’t resist the ‘pinks’ and/or ‘golden’ roses! The winter beauty and the snow are lovely, but I need those floral to keep me going. As a painter of flowers, trips to the floral shop through the winter become a necessity. — Diane
Most of the time, I use Alla Prima technique for my Still Life artwork. I feel that the “direct painting” method or as the French call it ‘au premier coup’ (at first stroke) allows me to capture the essence of flowers. Working in one sitting helps me paint the floral still life more energetic and loose. I usually get inspiration by going to flower markets or looking at my favorite art books, and when an idea for a new still life comes to mind, I set it up in my studio and do several tonal sketches for composition and value studies. After the composition is laid out, it takes several hours from start to finish. Half way through it, I usually take a break, go away, and come back with a fresh eye. It helps me to refine the composition and to add the necessary details to make a finished painting. — Inna
Chrysanthemums originated in East Asia and nowadays there are countless varieties of all sizes and colors. Yellow, pink, orange, deep purple or a combination of colors help to make these flowers a desirable painting subject. The lace with the twists and folds is a common element in my paintings and the folds represent the turns and changes each of us faces in life. – Hebe
JULIE GILBERT POLLARD
This rustic and exquisite stone wall and flower garden, constructed by a friend, is brilliant for a painting subject. I added the morning sun streaming through to accent the dazzling yellow flowers. Although I normally use acrylic as an adjunct to oil and watercolor, for this painting I decided it would be acrylic all the way. I find working in different mediums to be a wonderful discipline and since challenging, it keeps me from getting as tight as I might otherwise! –Julie
It has been a particularly long, hard winter in many parts of the country but certainly here in my home state of Michigan! Spring has always been my favorite time of year and this year it will be even more welcome than usual! I love Daffodils because they are, like Robins, a true symbol of Spring. Little globes of sunshine sometimes peeking through the snow! It seems to me that the loose and energetic style of Alla Prima is the perfect energy for a painting about Spring. The transitions between the thick and thin layers, the lost and found edges…seem almost like a metaphor for Spring itself! — Barbara
JOE RAY KELLEY
I love Tuscany. The landscape is an artists’ mecca! The colors change with the sun angel and the landscape varies with color, shades, and elevations. Spending a few weeks in the Florence and the Tuscany area provided time to travel and marvel at the beauty. Photographs can never really capture the true visual beauty.”Poppies Under the Tuscan Sun” was painted from photographs taken in the region in 2013. I sketch the outline on canvas, paint mostly with acrylic and detail with water-mixable oil to improve shading and texture.
Flowers add softness and beauty to any subject; in this case, they might even add mystery. The sharp edge of the blade juxtaposed next to the petals speaks of opposites. Salamanca, the name of the painting, also adds to the story. It is a city in Spain conquered by Hannibal in 220 b.c., it was captured by Moors in the 8th century and held by them until the late 11th century. Notice the small ant under the blade!
We love our hydrangeas in the south! Once the warm weather returns, nothing signifies the arrival of spring like this beautiful multi-faceted flower that adorns gardens, dinner tables and mantles all over Dixie. With the varieties and colors available, the hydrangea provides the artist with many inspirational and compositional possibilities. The hydrangea screams winter’s end, which is why I love this subject. I’m ready for spring! – Lisa
SARAH VAN DER HELM
Sarah is an accomplished painter and one of NOAPS Master Artists. Only eight artists have accomplished the Master designation since 1991. A Calla Lily is a flower tied to magnificence and beauty. We thought it appropriate to finish our Spring display with this flower breaking through to show its exquisiteness. — NOAPS