Classic, Commercial, and an Art World Constant

The Roses of Heliogabalus by Alma-Tadema (1888), oil on canvas.
The Roses of Heliogabalus by Alma-Tadema (1888), oil on canvas.

Paint Flowers to Get It All

You don’t have to think terribly hard to figure out that the painting genre that has all of these characteristics in common is floral painting. It is a practice that has inspired artists to create beautiful, graceful paintings for centuries. But to paint flowers in a way that doesn’t become a simple exercise in rote recording, I take note of the power of the flower in these three areas. So I can remind myself on what I can do to leverage the subject matter for my viewer.

Classic

So many artists become artists because they are inspired by historic artworks they’ve seen in museums or art history books. It pretty much goes without saying that a significant percentage of those works would be floral paintings. Every artistic movement has contributed to the genre, from the Renaissance to Impressionism and beyond.

This does contemporary artists who paint flowers a two-fold favor. It provides hundreds of inspiring works to learn from. It also puts one in good company knowing we are extending this tradition into the 21st century.

Flowers by Charles Demuth, watercolor painting, 1916, 9 x 11.
Flowers by Charles Demuth, watercolor painting, 1916, 9 x 11.

Commercial

Paint flowers if you want to develop a body of work that sells. It doesn’t mean that you have to be conventional or stifle your own style in your presentation of how to paint flowers. Instead, look around you and acknowledge that people from so many walks of life are drawn to floral paintings.

Established and beginner collectors alike seek them out for their homes and workplaces. Lovers of floral paintings abound. Professional decorators often seek out floral paintings when designing residential and corporate spaces like hotel chains. Why shouldn’t it be your work that they are looking at?

Brass Samovar by CW Mundy, oil on linen, 30 x 24, 2007.
Brass Samovar by CW Mundy, oil on linen, 30 x 24, 2007.

Art World Constant

Look anywhere artwork is sold and nine times out of ten you’ll find a floral painting. From yard sales, flea markets, to Sotheby’s and Christie’s, the offerings that continue to always rise to the top are floral paintings or those works with floral aspects to them.

Certainly, this isn’t exclusive to flower paintings alone. But it reinforces that there is something constantly attractive and appealing about floral paintings. Artists who paint flowers inevitably get a piece of this and yet there is a wide enough range of diversity within the subject matter that you can do your own thing and still find an eager audience.

Little Red Riding Hood by Daniel Egneus, pen and ink drawing, 2011.
Little Red Riding Hood by Daniel Egneus, pen and ink drawing, 2011.

It’s Simply a Pleasure

Most artists paint flowers simply because it is a pleasing endeavor that is a fun challenge when it comes to color and form, but it is an accessible subject that you don’t have to spend a fortune on for props, yet the payoff can be solid gold. You can explore all the essentials of art knowing that you will showcase work that brings people joy to behold.

If you are interested in furthering your experience in the genre, Julie Gilbert Pollard’s How to Paint Flowers takes you through the entire oil painting process with the supplies you’ll need and the techniques you’ll want to use along the way. With inspiration and technical prowess, instructor and artist Julie Gilbert Pollard delivers an incredibly knowledgeable and informative workshop that does the genre justice and will get you excited to start your next painting. Enjoy!

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Artist Daily Blog
Courtney Jordan

About Courtney Jordan

  Courtney is the editor of Artist Daily. For her, art is one of life’s essentials and a career mainstay. She’s pursued academic studies of the Old Masters of Spain and Italy as well as museum curatorial experience, writing and reporting on arts and culture as a magazine staffer, and acquiring and editing architecture and cultural history books. She hopes to recommit herself to more studio time, too, working in mixed media.   

2 thoughts on “Classic, Commercial, and an Art World Constant

  1. If the role of an artist in society is to uplift and inspire then it is no wonder that floral paintings are so desirable. Flowers are a wonder of Nature and works of art before we even pick up the paintbrush. What other subject matter could provide such richness of colour and form and expressive personality? Floral paintings can make the heart soar, bring a smile to the face, enrich the ambience of the surrounds, can evoke a fragrance or a special memory or make us sigh or even weep because of their exquisite beauty. Is this not the type of art we would want to fill our homes with?

  2. If the role of an artist in society is to uplift and inspire then it is no wonder that floral paintings are so desirable. Flowers are a wonder of Nature and works of art before we even pick up the paintbrush. What other subject matter could provide such richness of colour and form and expressive personality? Floral paintings can make the heart soar, bring a smile to the face, enrich the ambience of the surrounds, can evoke a fragrance or a special memory or make us sigh or even weep because of their exquisite beauty. Is this not the type of art we would want to fill our homes with?

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