Pat Fiorello - Art Elevates Life

Art & Inspiration from professional artist and instructor Pat Fiorello. Pat is known for her romantic landscape, garden and floral paintings in oil and watercolor. Her paintings often depict beautiful places like Italy and France. Pat teaches painting workshops in the U.S., Caribbean and Europe. She is passionate about inspiring others to include art in their life. Whether creating it or simply appreciating and enjoying it, there are so many ways that art elevates life!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Flower Study #25 White Hydrangeas

Flower Study # 25
White Hydrangeas
6 x 8
Oil Painting on Panel
by Pat Fiorello
Starting bid $100

Bid Here Now

I love painting hydrangeas. The white ones are especially fun as they offer an opportunity to use subtle warm and cool "near whites" to show form.

Special thanks to Dan Edmonson for acknowledging me as this week's Featured Artist on Elegant Fine   Click here for more info.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Flower Study #24- Roses, Delphiniums and Berries

Flower Study #24
Pink, Red & Blue
12 x 12
Oil Painting on Panel by Pat Fiorello

This study was based on a miniature floral arrangement by my friend John Grady Burns.  John is a well known floral designer ( see JGBFlora) and instructor who teaches the 3 week Primary Flowers program I am starting today at Halls School of Design in Atlanta. I am partly taking the class for fun, but also with the intention that I learn more about creating beautiful arrangements that I can include in my still life paintings. I figure the more I understand my subject and branch out ( pun intended) into some more creative combinations of flower shapes, colors and textures, the better for my painting inspiration.

Here's the photo of the original arrangement. It is in a tiny urn just a few inches high.

I will share updates on how the program is going and plan to do some more floral study paintings of the floral arrangements we are doing in class which I'll post over the next few weeks.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Flower Study #23 Ranunculus in Silver Container

Red Hot Ranunculus
12 x 16
 Oil Painting on Panel by Pat Fiorello

Here's a painting of a single type of flower( ranunculus) accented by some berries. I like including these flowers in still lives since they tend to have a lot of movement.

 Here's the original set up along with some steps along the way blocking the painting in. I decided to go with the dark background for more drama, but I like the light background as well and may give that a try too.

Initial block in of the bouquet

Block in with background added, before any from, detail added to the flowers and container.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Flower Study #21

Flower Study #21
White Rose
6 x8 Oil Painting
by Pat Fiorello
Starting bid $100

Bid Here Now

I came across some exquisite white roses with delicate pink edges and chose one for my "model" for Flower Study 21.

I am up in Highlands, North Carolina this week teaching a painting workshop on flowers with 14 enthusiastic flower lovers.  Here are a few of the students in our room filled with all kinds of flowers.

 I was thrilled that one of my students, Marilyn, told me she was inspired by the ongoing flower studies in my blog and it spurred her on to start her own sketchbook of daily flower studies which she shared with me at the workshop. She grows beautiful zinnias in her own garden and when she brings a small bouquet in each morning she sketches it in her sketchbook. What a beautiful way to enjoy the flowers on a deeper level while building her observational and painting skills. Way to go Marilyn!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Flower Study 20

Summer Bouquet
12 x 16
Oil Painting on Panel
by Pat Fiorello

This arrangement gave me the opportunity to try out several different types of flowers with different shapes and textures. I especially liked the delicacy of the hydrangeas and wispy purple flowers in contrast to the solidity of the green pitcher.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Flower Study 19 Red Rose Blue Willow

Red Rose Blue Willow
12 x 12
Oil Painting

This is a larger version of the study I did a week or so ago from the still life set up in the Robert Johnson workshop I recently took at the Easton Studio and School  in Easton Maryland. The  flowers were good practice as part of my ongoing flower study challenge but actually the Blue Willow sugar bowl was the most fun to paint. You are always straddling a fine line between including enough detail to suggest reality, but not so much to be precisely literal. It's also always amazing that you can create the illusion of a 3 dimensional object on a 2 dimensional canvas.

 Painting the container requires the same approach as the flowers- get the big shape first,  then describe the form ( by depicting light and shadow) and after that is established you can get to the decoration or small details.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Flower Study 18

Roses & Silver
Oil Painting by Pat Fiorello
12 x 16

  This latest study was a bit more complex, covering several different colors and shapes of roses in a silver container with some cherries to repeat soem of the colors in the flowers.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Flower Study #17

  Apple Blossoms
 Study #17
12 x16 Oil Painting by Pat Fiorello

Today's study was really part of a larger painting lesson, but the subject is still flowers so I'm including it as part of my flower study intensive.
White flowers are amongst the hardest to paint (yellows are also tough due to limited value range), so I was happy to have gotten some blossoms in the back to appear to recede and others closer to the vase appear closer thru use of warmer and cooler temperatures.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Flower Study #15 & 16

 If you have been following my blog, you know hat I am currently working on a series of 50 floral studies between now and the end of Sept. so every day or so, I am doing a small study to practice floral shapes, colors etc..  Some are hits and some are misses- but there is something to learn from each study. Here's the next in the series of floral studies- working on a  single pink rose. It turned out okay but not necessarily my favorite or best effort. So I looked to see what might be missing to improve on the next one.
Flower Study 15
Pink Rose 6 x 8 Oil Painting

Many artists learn by studying the masters.  The masters are often considered artists of centuries ago, but there are modern masters among us today. So I looked to see who had done some amazing roses and found an artist I really liked - Qiang Huang. I  copied  one of his works for  study #16 just as an exercise for my own personal learning ( not to sell since he has the copyright on this image) . By doing this I coud see several things that made the difference- more dramatic lighting ( dark vs light areas), bolder, more confident brushstrokes and bigger specific shapes. Some good lessons to take into the next round of studies.
Flower Study #16
6 x 8 Oil Painting


Friday, August 19, 2011

Flower Study #14

Flower Study #14
Rose Trio
8 x 10
Oil Painting on Panel
by Pat Fiorello

Bid Here Now

Had a beautiful bouquet of pink roses so made up a little still life of 3 roses and grapes with a silver cup.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Flower Study #13

Flower Study #13
Basket of Cheer
 6 x 6 Oil Painting on Panel
by Pat Fiorello

Bid Here Now

Decided to do a miniature still life as part of my ongoing floral study series. I like the contrast of the yellow and blue/violet color scheme which has an upbeat feeling.

An Attitude of Gratitude

The Cloisters
Oil Painting by Pat Fiorello

I recently went to an art workshop and during a Q&A session,  I asked the instructor, a master artist who's been painting for many years, if there was anything he did to relax and get himself "in the zone" to paint. I know sometimes people listen to music, meditate or do warm up exercises to loosen up brushwork so I was interested in what he had to say.  He was silent for a few moments then shared that he started each painting session thinking of all those he was grateful for in his art career- not only his past teachers- many of whom are gone now,  but also the Old Masters and others who contributed to the legacy of art handed down from generation to generation. He was so moved and present to gratitude that had to wipe back the tears when he shared that with the class.

Sometimes we can get so busy in the DOING part of life as an artist- the creating, but also the framing, buying supplies, marketing,cleaning our studios, entering shows, updating websites and other communications, blogging etc.. that we can lose sight of the joy of BEING an artist. I thought his comments about starting with gratitude could be a great way to  immediately presence that feeling of gratefulness for being able to live the life of an artist.

  After hearing this, I was inspired to start my own "Art Gratitude Journal".  So yesterday, I made a simple WORD document and have it visible on my computer desktop as a reminder to make it a daily practice to add to the list. I started out off the top of my head and in just a few minutes had a full page worth of people, places and things that I am grateful for that have contributed to me and my growth as an artist.  The more I thought about it, the more people, past and present, came up- some of whom I haven't seen in years or maybe only had a brief interaction with but who made a profound difference and others who might have had a brief conversation but that pointed me in the right direction or inspired me to take some action. Even appreciating my local art store knowing that it's a gift to be able to get the supplies I need, when I need them and many people are not fortunate to have that access.  It's amazing how good that feels to appreciate all those people. My intention is to take this on as a daily practice and start each painting session with an attitude of gratitude for the blessings of how wonderful it is to be able to live a life immersed in art.

I guess, if it "takes a village" to grow a child, it "takes a planet and centuries" to grow an artist. Just think about all the people who have come before us and shared what they have learned. It really is a rich tapestry of artists helping artists. Some of you- teachers, students, friends and fellow artists- may already be on my list and I sincerely thank you for being a part of my life.  I hope that I can contribute to you in some way too.  One might take on that as artists our job is not only to make a painting( or whatever you medium is), but to make a difference!

If you have a way you get grounded before you start painting, please feel free to share it with other artists by posting a comment here. Thanks

Have a grateful day!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Paint in Charleston

If you are ready for a fun, short painting getaway, here's an opportunity to paint in beautiful Charleston, S. C. I am teaching a workshop there in October. Details are listed below. Please feel free to share this with other artists who might be interested.

Paint Charleston!
Painting Workshop with instructor Pat Fiorello

3-day workshop sponsored by the Charleston Art Guild
October 10-12 9AM-4PM
Workshop fee:
 For Charleston Art Guild members:  $325.
 For Non- Members:  $370.
To register: Contact:
Tina can assist you with recommendations on lodging options if needed.


Enjoy a fun 3 days painting in watercolor in beautiful Charleston S.C. with instructor Pat Fiorello. Learn how to paint beautiful landscapes including technique, composition, how to show depth in your landscape, editing while working on location and mixing colors, especially natural greens. Include demonstration, instruction, critique and individual guidance from Pat during student painting time.
We will spend some time in the classroom on the first day for an overview and then (weather permitting) time out painting on location. We'll likely do at least one city scene in town and one day with a larger landscape vista (possibly at one of the plantations). Demonstrations will be in watercolor, but artists of all mediums are welcome to participate in the medium of their choice.

Instructor Bio
Pat Fiorello is a popular instructor who teaches in the 
U. S. and Europe.  She is known for her romantic landscape, garden and floral paintings in both oil and watercolor. She is a Signature Member and Past President of the Georgia Watercolor Society. Pat’s paintings have been accepted into over 70-juried shows, featured in over a dozen one-woman shows and represented by several galleries in the Southeast.  Her work was featured in “Splash 11, The Best of Watercolor” recently published by North Light Books.  Pat has taught on location at Monet’s Garden in Giverny, France, in Tuscany and Northern Italy. Pat believes everyone can develop the skills to paint and experience the joy of art. Having learned herself as an adult, she has particular appreciation for adult learners, even total beginners, and provides a fun and supportive environment for learning. Visit for more information.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Flower Study #12 Red Rose in Oriental Bowl

Flower Study 12
Red Rose in Oriental Bowl
Oil Painting on Panel by Pat Fiorello
6 x 6

Bid Here Now

Another  in the series of flower studies.  The flower was fun to do , but I especially had fun with suggesting the design on the pot.

Flower Study #11

Here's Flower Study #11- a 12 x 12 Oil Painting. This one is not for sale as I did it in a workshop and used the instructors reference photo. The lesson was more on reflections, but I couldn't resist the periwinkle flowers- my favorite color.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Studying Still Life Oil Painting with Robert Johnson

 I am in a 3 day workshop studying oil painting with master artist Robert Johnson. I studied with him earlier this year and learned so much that I decided to work with him again to deepen my learning. It is good to study with different artists, but once you find someone whose approach and teaching style fit with you, it's a good idea to focus and go deeper with that teacher. I'll briefly share his approach here:

Still Life set up for demonstration

In the design phase, Robert starts our with a toned canvas and with one fairly neutral color( Transparent Oxid Red and Ultramarine Blue), he loosely places the big shapes, knowing that at this stage anything can easily be changed.

Next he wipes out the light areas and lays in the background and a wash for the rug color

He begins with the largest shapes and center of interest- the sugar bowl and red rose. During this phase he shifts his approach to lay in each brushtroke very deliberately to be descriptive. It's an "alla prima" approach where his intention is to put down a brushstroke and leave it so he is very carefully observing the shape, color, value, edges of each area he's painting and then using each brushstroke to describe that.

Here's the finished painting. (still wet on the easel, so ignore the clip on top) it certainly captures the set up, but is actually much more beautiful. It looks highly finished, but up close it is actually looser than it appears.

Robert is not only a wonderful artist who clearly has worked long and hard to develop his level of mastery, but is also a great teacher who generously shares his passion for art and learning. I plan to continue my studies with him in 2012.

 If you want to learn more about Robert Johnson's paintings, workshops, dvd's or beautiful book( one of my favorites) "On Becoming a Painter. visit his website Robert Johnson Art

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Flower Study #10 Hydrangeas

Flower Study #10
 Oil Painting by Pat Fiorello

Tried a different flower and color palette for this study of hydrangeas after the roses from last week.

Below is my original reference photo;

Here is the initial block in in dark transparent colors;

Then beginning to add in the leaves, next I added background color to cover the entire canvas with  a layer of paint, then I came in with brushstrokes to depict petal shapes and add lighter areas to build form with the final painting depicted above. I took some artistic license to modify colors and shapes of the flowers yet still have them feel like hydrangeas.

To see more of my flower paintings click on Pat Fiorello Floral Paintings

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Flower Study #9 Rose

Here's the latest painting in my flower studies series. I'm not sure of the name of this type of rose, but it was a challenge to paint,. There are so many layers of petals to simplify, yet  its essence is complex. How do you add enough to make ti feel like this type of flower, yet not get bogged down in every precise petal.That seems to be (one of) the constant artists challenge- being selective- deciding what to include and what to edit out.
Some steps along the way are shown below.

Flower Study #9 Rose
Oil Painting on Panel
 6 x 8

This was the reference photo I started with

My initial block in

Adding the background

Starting to distinguish form and petals on the way to the finished study ( first image above)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Flower Study #8- Roses & Lilacs

Roses & Lilacs
6 x 8
Oil Painting on Panel
by Pat Fiorello

I wanted to do some further
 study on yellow roses and added the lilacs as a nice complementary color.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Flower Study 7- Yellow and White Roses

Three Roses
Oil Painting on panel by Pat Fiorello
6 x 8

This study was based on a photo I took at a rose garden in Atlanta a few years back,. Knew I wanted to paint it someday and today was finally the day.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Flower Study #6 Yellow Daisies

Today I decided to do a closer in study of just the flowers from the larger painting in study 5.

 Here is the study where I focused more on brushwork and a variety of yellows.

Flower Study #6
Oil Painting by Pat Fiorello
6 x8


Here is the photo I  was working from, credited to Daniel Edmondson

Here is the first stage where I laid in the flower shapes with the darkest colors I saw, using transparent paints only.

Here is the next stage with the background laid in, again with transparent paints.

From this point, I  started adding more opaque colors to indicate light and shadow of the flowers and refine the shapes of the petals etc.. till I completed the painting with the first image noted above.