This week is about embracing green flowers and making your art stand out.
Last month, my husband let me choose flowers for my birthday. I picked green roses that had a hint of pink on their petals. Of course, there were plenty of colors available, but green ones touched my heart. I have always liked old romance novels where the emotions are kept under the surface, and I see a similar kind of suffocation in this bunch.
A rose dreams about becoming pink but sadly realizes that her petals are not much different from her leaves.
I feel a strong bond with green flowers because my art is very similar to their petals, only a slightly improved reflection of the ordinary self. My art goes only as far as I can imagine, and the imagination is often limited.
But green flowers can be enough. So, grand innovations can be replaced by many small tweaks.
Traditional or Not – Let’s Look at Jacob Marrel’s Flowers
Last week, I went to see old floral still lives at Sinebrychoff Art Museum. Still lives from the 17th century, like this one from Jacob Marrel, were my favorites. The subject is not creative: flowers in a glass vase, but small additions to a stereotypical interpretation make the painting stand out: butterflies and dragonflies, drops of water, red currants on the tabletop, black leaves that are easy to miss because they express the lighting so naturally, and the roses that sadly hang down, ready for withering.
The best floral still lives from the 17th century are often Dutch, but Jacob Marrel (1613-1681) was German. He was a teacher, too, running a school for floral painters. I would love to turn back time and participate in his lessons! I would also have a question:
“Do you, Herr Marrel, think about the plant’s personality when you are painting it?”
Flowers Are Free Souls
When I started this spread in my colored pencil journal, I felt that I just needed to let the flowers dance the way they wanted. So I didn’t sketch the big picture but worked little by little and endured the chaos, trusting that the flowers and leaves would find their natural gestures.
I want to let my art express itself as freely as possible.
How to Free the Flowers – 5 Tips
- Don’t make every flower similar, but let the diversity capture the viewer.
- Don’t differentiate flowers only with color but with shapes and lines too.
- Color a spot and ask what it wants, and allow green flowers – so, odd variations!
- Get inspired by the imperfection of reality! It’s natural to grow curvy, wither, have texture on the leaves, and get really dark or bright.
- Allow shapes and colors to breathe. You don’t have to know what every element in your drawing represents.
From Drawing to Painting
The first quarter of the year has been full of drawing and building the new class Fun Botanicum. But now a new series of paintings have started, and I have lots of big canvases to paint before the solo show in June. In the photo above, you see the first painting still in progress. My journal pages and my paintings live separate lives, but still, they inspire each other. It’s exciting to translate illustrative journal pages to more abstract paintings, and vice versa. I like this way of working a lot.
Now, when Fun Botanicum has started, I am also looking forward to seeing art from the participants: flowers, hays, fruits, berries, mushrooms … in all colors!