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!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Holiday Beauty

Holiday Beauty
8 x 8 Oil Painting
by Pat Fiorello

While I have some beautiful live poinsettias from Pikes here at home, I decided to do a little study of one of the pink and white variegated ones today. Poinsettias, holly and other traditional holiday plants and flowers can do a lot to really dress up a home or business and make it feel festive this time of year.

A good friend of mine,  John Grady Burns, is a floral design expert. He has an exquisite sense of style and taste and works magic with flowers and foliage. I studied floral design with him and am blown away by his mastery.  I asked him for some tips to share on how we can add some beauty to our homes this time of year and here's a suggestion he offered:

 "To add some beauty to your home for the holidays in a simple and easy way: Save the trimmings from the bottom of your tree and place them on the mantle. They do not have to be in water as they will dry a nice shade of green and still add that wonderful fragrance to your home. If you have access to some holly shrubs or trees just cut several branches and place them in a vase. A mass of one type of greenery (holly in this case) always makes a statement. If you wish you could easily pick up a few stems of red roses or red carnations (large or miniature blooms) and add to the holly arrangement when you have guests in your home. Simple and easy is what we like..."

Thank you John. For more tips (or for a holiday gift for someone special)  you can see one of John's two marvelous books, Evergreen, Decorating with the Colours of the Season. ( The other book Personally Yours is equally gorgeous)

Someone recently asked if I had a youtube video of my approach to oil painting and I don't (yet) but will share at least some photo's  of a progression of an oil painting to show how things unfold.

The person who was asking me  is learning using a classical approach with grids and layers etc.. so I shared that my approach is quite different from that- it's more free flowing and alla prima. Unless there is architecture or specific man-made shapes in my subject matter, I don't do too much drawing upfront. Instead I  first block in large shapes with transparent paints only. The come back and further resolve specific areas. It's kind of messy and organic and if I did the same painting again I might do things in a different order, but that is part of the fun and challenge of it. To extract something of beauty from something that starts out kind of a mess. Like Michelangelo said, I started with a block of marble and took away everything that wasn't David. After the block in stage which is very rough, I know there's something in there, I just need to pull it out with shapes and colors of paint.

Many years ago I read an article in one of the art magazines, and forgive me for not remembering and crediting the author, but  I recall her saying "every painting has to go thru an ugly stage". That really stuck with me, because it seems true. There is a point in every painting where it's a mess and you think "this will never turn out".  If you listen to that little voice in your head, that judgement will make you want to quit. But knowing that that ugly stage is something to expect and a natural part of the process allows me to go on and follow thru to create something more in line with my original intention.

So the moral of the story; don't stop till it's done.

Happy Holidays!

Took a photo of one bloom to get an idea of it's shape, but worked from the plant itself while painting

Initial block in of the approximate flower shape

Continuing block in with leaves and background

Begin forming individual petals

The finished painting

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