Color the Emotion

Pick a few colors and create without stiffness.

Paint Beautiful Decorative Flowers!

This week, we create stylized beauty. You will see how I painted these beautiful decorative flowers.

Beautiful decorative flowers by Paivi Eerola, Finland.

Time for Some Happy Art!

At least here in Finland, May-June is a time for parties. There are school graduations and then Midsummer at the end of June, which is celebrated not only by people but by Finnish nature too. Days are long and the deep sleeps during the dark winter are now coming into use. If different art forms had seasons, this uplifting time would be dedicated to decorative painting. Beautiful decorative flowers and other curvy motifs go well with the celebrations.

A detail of a hand-painted old chest.
A detail of a hand-painted old chest. A black and white photo from 1936. Photographer: Pietinen. From the archives of The Finnish Heritage Agency.

Decorative art is happy art for most people. Its tradition extends all over the world and it only requires a little sensitivity to beauty from the viewer.

Uplifting Art-Making

Three years ago, when the Corona lockdowns started, I buried myself in decorative painting. I made decorative collages from hand-painted papers and practiced decorative painting techniques.

Art journal cover. A collage of handpainted papers.
A decorative journal cover from handpainted collage pieces. See more: Painted Paper Collage -6 Tips for Intricate and Fun Art

These curvy forms and lines are still present in my paintings, where decorativeness is mixed with a more dynamic and abstract expression.

Menuetti - Minuet, a floral abstract oil painting by Päivi Eerola, Finland.
Menuetti – Minuet, oil on canvas, 2022.

Painting in a decorative style is fun. A few thoughtful brushstrokes create beauty, and even a beginner’s work looks great when viewed from a far enough distance. Over time, the brush mark improves and has an effect on all drawing and painting, even handwriting. And it’s the perfect style for cards and gifts!

Starting a Decorative Painting

As I watched the blossoms in apple trees, I felt like painting something small and nice to celebrate the beginning of the blooming season.

Starting a decorative painting.

I took out my black Dylusions Creative Journal and acrylic paints and painted the background very dark blue. Then I made leaves on top of each other, and so that they get lighter layer by layer.

Painting leaves in decorative style.
Dark leaves on the background, lighter ones on the top.

At the same time, I watched the videos of my course Decodashery.

Decodashery – Painting Techniques for Vintage Flowers and More

I still like this course a lot. Decodashery is beautiful, inspiring, and detailed in its instructions. It is also full of ideas. When the Corona lockdown was on, I had plenty of time to experiment with decorative painting and make more examples than usual. This course is for watercolors, gouache, and acrylic paints. You can choose what you want – most of the decorative techniques suit all of them.

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Beautiful Decorative Flowers in Two Parts

At first, I thought about making two separate paintings for this post but then decided to make one work in two parts. The first part is simple and stylized and the second part is more creative. In this first part, I used quite raw colors: mainly ultramarine blue and white. I also mixed some brown umber with them.

Painting beautiful decorative flowers - the first strokes.

To highlight the decorative theme, I painted some parts with silver acrylic paint.

Painting leaves with silver paint.

Finally, I added some Sienna brown and turquoise (manganese blue hue) to bring warmth to the details.

A decorative flower painting in progress.

Now the first part is finished. The flowers that are only partly visible give the impression of continuous space.

Beautiful Decorative Flowers – The Second Part

In the second part, I wanted to bring more depth and warmth to the work. So I spread a thin layer of yellow-green color over the painting.

Adding a wash over a painting to create depth and warmth.

I used glazing gloss as a thinner here, but you can also try to thin the paint with water.

Wiping of excess paint after adding a color wash.

Immediately after application, I removed the excess paint by rubbing the surface with a cotton cloth. The thin color wash warms the tones of the whole painting.

Beautiful decorative flowers - adjusting details.

After the color wash, the painting is a bit hazy. Next, I added more details and brought some of them back up from the lower layers. This sharpens the best parts.

Painting beautiful decorative flowers in acrylics. Dylusions Creative Journal, square, black pages.

I had lots of tubes on the table but only used a few. Decorative painting encourages making a variety of tones by adjusting the lightness and darkness of color instead of always changing the actual color.

Happy for the Artist, Happy for the Viewer

There were moments of joy that only decorative painting can give me while making the page. This style feeds gentleness and peace. And even if the pleasures of the decorative painting process are only experienced by the painter, the decorative painting leads to results that are extrovertedly joyous, ready to brighten up anyone’s day.

Beautiful decorative flowers by Paivi Eerola, Finland. A detail.

Decodashery online course – Paint vintage beauty – Buy Now!

6 thoughts on “Paint Beautiful Decorative Flowers!

  1. That yellow wash was like magic! I love how it transformed the page, which makes me think of cookies and cakes with fancy frosting. Yum!

  2. I am discovering that ‘ moment of joy’ you mentioned in your Decodasery Workshop/Thank You … Although this decorative art form has been around for years, we have become too serious with our creativity instead of utilizing the exhilaration of the colors and painting. The application of yellow-green paint and the glazing gloss wiped away with a cotton cloth really perked my interest. I was enthralled with the techniques you used in your Dylusions Creative Journal and indeed fooled by the outcome of your happy and cheery results… It’s such FUN.

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