12 x 12 Oil Painting
by Pat Fiorello
When painting flowers in oil, I typically follow one of two general methods. One I will call an impressionist approach ( I was first introduced to it by Hedi Moran and later learned a similar method while studying with Ovanes Berberian). The other, is what I will call a traditional approach, which I learned studying with Dennis Perrin.
Both approaches are effective and enjoyable. I've done studies in the past on the same subject painting it with one method and then painting a 2nd version the other way to see how different the results actually are.
Over the years, I've actually done the same painting using several different methods a few times, each time expecting to see a vast difference in the outcome. Frankly, while the process is different, there really isn't that much of a difference in the final outcome on the canvas. Maybe part of that is you are the same artist, with the same brushstrokes, color tendencies etc.. So I've pretty much concluded, you have to have a strong composition, clean colors, careful planning of and attention to values and a variety of edges plus what I'll call the X factor ( which is your own passion, excitement for the subject and personal vision/ intention for the painting- why you decided to paint it) to have a strong result. All methods eventually address each of these areas, some just emphasize a particular aspect or sequence things differently. So at the end of the day, you get to a pretty similar place, you might just have taken a different route.
What I did for this particular experiment was explore what would happen if I combine the 2 methods. In other words, bring together the best aspects of each of my 2 favorite methods. The impressionist approach stresses color first with bold, transparent loose underpaintings and the traditional approach emphasizes simple abstract value shapes allowing for refinement of color later in the process.
Below are some steps along the way in attempting to combine elements of both approaches into my own approach. It may have added another step to the overall process, but I was pleased with the outcome and felt it gave me the best of both worlds to combine the 2 approaches.
I think if I would have tried this as I was initially learning either method it might have been overwhelming to combine different methods, but since I've been painting with both approaches for awhile, it took some concentration, but was manageable.
So if you are new to painting, you may want to stick with one approach to build that muscle and confidence and then build on that by experimenting with other methods. No matter what be patient. Some of these experiments work, some don't and you end up scraping off a lot of paint and starting all over again. But the more your experiment, the more you will learn and the more tools and confidence you will have in tackling any painting subject you desire.Who knows what you may discover?