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, December 30, 2015


12 x 24 Oil Painting by Pat Fiorello

"Celebrate" is a recent painting of a bridal bouquet, commissioned by a mother of the bride as a Christmas gift for her daughter. The wedding was a beach wedding this past July and the bouquet had a festive red, white and blue theme.  She sent several photos and I cropped in close and manipulated a bit in photoshop. We both preferred the slight angle view and since the bouquet had a long cascade, I thought the elongated format might be really nice.

These are some other examples of bouquets I've painted for other brides.  If you'd like to have a bouquet painted as a unique and meaningful gift for a wedding, anniversary, Valentine's Day or other special occasion coming up in 2016, please contact me for a complimentary design session.

Best wishes for a happy new year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Hope- Ronald McDonald House

15 x 30 Oil Painting by Pat Fiorello
Donated to Ronald McDonald House, Dunwoody, GA
Artists create art for a number or reasons, and often it is something they feel personally moved to create or express. However, art can be much more than an individual phenomenon. While I am passionate about art and find joy in painting, there is also a broader context to art for me and that is to uplift spirits and enrich lives through art and beauty. The personal context I have held for many years now and which has been my "true north" is that I am " Creating a World of Beauty, Love and Inspiration".

Aligned with this purpose,  earlier this year I created a program, "Inspired Spaces" where I donate art to places where people are receiving medical treatment or healing.  There is a growing body of research evidence that seeing nature and beauty has a significant impact on recovery for patients. In one landmark study, hospital patients who saw trees required less pain medication and requested it less frequently, were less anxious and depressed and were able to leave the hospital faster than those who looked at a plain brick wall. Another study revealed the healing power of art and nature actually boosts ones immune system by lowering levels of an inflammatory chemical that can trigger diabetes, heart attacks and other illnesses. There are countless other studies showing the healing power of art and more and more research being done in this area.

Typically, for my "Inspired Spaces" projects, I offer to donate one of my existing paintings, but when the folks from Ronald McDonald House shared the development of a brand new facility in Dunwoody, GA, I agreed to paint something specifically for them. The new facility replaces a former house that only had 11 bedrooms which meant many families in need had to be turned away. The new building just opened and has 31 bedrooms for families to use while their child is receiving extended medical treatment here in Atlanta.

I met with Jennifer Davis, a designer from Sims Patrick Studio, the local firm who worked on the design and decor of the new facility. She shared some of the fabrics and I then translated those into some paint colors that I would use in a limited palette. The new building has a bit more of a contemporary palette and feel so I created the painting "Hope" with a bit more of an abstract feel rather than something strictly representational. The centerpiece of the new building is a unique and innovative tree house in the center of the building that reaches up to the highest floor.

Some of the fabric swatches

I translated fabric swatches with the Sherwin Williams Colorsnap app
The new Ronald McDonald House
5420 Peachtree Dunwoody Rd
Sandy Springs, GA 30342
Ronald waiting for some visitors

Here's the painting hanging against a wood covered wall.

If you know of an environment that could be enhanced with some artwork for the benefit or patients and caregivers,  please have them contact me about my "Inspired Spaces" program.

Best wishes to all for a happy holiday season and a miraculous 2016!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Close Friends- Another Approach

Close Friends
 ( grisalle method)
8 x 10 Oil Painting by Pat Fiorello

I have several different methods for painting flowers. Most are "alla prima". Sometimes I start with a transparent underpainting, then build opaque colors on top. Other times I put dark background in and lift out the spaces where the light flowers will go. And sometimes I lightly sketch in the flower shapes, build shadow shapes, then light shapes and refine from there.
Recently I attended a workshop given by Brian Davis. His method is quite different from any of these more direct methods I typically follow. So I have been experimenting to see what that approach might be able to achieve or if there are elements of it that I might incorporate into my own process.

A few days ago I shared "Close Friends" 12 x 16 oil which I did in my own way. I decided to give the same composition a try with this new method and see the difference. Below is the start with this new method where you start with a middle value grey and then build up the pattern of lights and darks, leaving the original grey tone to show thru where the midtones will be in the composition.

After that underpainting (or grisaille) dries, then you build colors on top of it. If multiple layers are required (which is usually the case), then you must wait for the previous layer to dry. To speed up the process a bit, you can use oil alkyds which dry faster than traditional oils. But even with the faster drying you'd still most likely have to wait till the next day, so it ends up being a multi- day process as opposed to more direct methods.

Below is the same painting done in my own method initially. The "experiment" is posted at the top of this post and to be fair is an 8 x 10 so a little less detail was included than the larger version.

When I look at them side by side, the "experiment" may have a bit more depth, however that could be achieved in the other method as well, glazing over a few areas to deepen the values if desired.  I think the grisalle method helps you stay true to the values as you get into color, however, since I usually have a value sketch before I start painting, I usually have a road map on where I'm going during the painting process.

My conclusion thus far is that you can arrive at the same place in a number of different ways. As Richard Schmid says, painting is all about having the right  shapes of the right value and color in the right place. Sounds easy, but my fellow artist know it takes practice and lots of work to achieve that.

I'll continue to experiment with this new approach although I don't see it replacing my current methods. It's good to have options to explore.
Do you see anything else comparing the two?
Have you experimented with different methods?
Would love to hear what you've learned by doing so.

Sunday, December 20, 2015


8 x 8 Oil Painting by Pat Fiorello

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Experimenting with a new technique I recently learned which involves  laying in a grisaille underpainting and once dried painting on top of it, as opposed to the more direct alla prima approach I typically use. Aim was to capture a sensation of light on this rose in the garden.

Below is the painting after the underpainting of values in black, white and grey were laid in.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Close Friends

Close Friends
12 x 16 Oil Painting
by Pat Fiorello
After working on Cascading Roses ( posted recently at ) ,
I've gotten more interested in painting flowers up close in the garden setting as a change of pace from the still lifes.  I've decided to pursue these "gardenscapes" further and  to create a series for an upcoming show next spring.

I called this one "Close Friends" as I like the intimate feeling and viewpoint and that the roses of different sizes and stages of development are clustered close to one another.

Monday, December 7, 2015


12 x 24 Oil painting on gallery wrap canvas
by Pat Fiorello
Latest oil painting. My focus was conveying a sense of light and energy with these beautiful flowers.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Road to 27 Rue Claude Monet-Oil

Road to 27 Rue Claude Monet
12 x 16 Oil Painting
by Pat Fiorello

An oil version of the same scene shared in the watercolor version a few posts back. Autumn in Giverny .

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Cascading Roses-revised

Cascading Roses
12 x 16 Oil Painting
by Pat Fiorello
 After looking again at "Roses Alla Prima" which I had painted a couple of months ago,  I realized something had been lost in the translation from the study which was 8 x 10 to the larger 12 x 16 version. Since the proportions were slightly different, the composition looked a little bit empty. Below is the original. I added a just few more brushstrokes and feel the new version above is stronger.

"Roses Alla Prima"
12 x 16 Oil Painting

Friday, November 20, 2015

Rose Sweet Rose- Could it work in Watercolor?

Rose Sweet Rose
9 x9  Watercolor
by Pat Fiorello

In a post earlier this week, I shared a totally different painting approach I learned during a recent oil painting workshop. Rather than my typical more direct "alla prima" approach, this alternative approach involved a grisalle( black and white value underpainting, after drying add colors, layers as needed). I decided to do a little experiment to see if that approach of putting values down first then painting color over it would work for watercolors.  It may be a somewhat non-traditonal approach for watercolor which typically is painted from light to dark, but  after doing this experiment, I think it is a viable approach.

Here's the first stage, where I painted in just the midtones with a grey made from permanent rose, cobalt blue and indian yellow- a primary triad that is fairly transparent. Rather than mix up a big batch on one flat color, I shifted the predominance of different colors based on areas of the photos which showed warmer versus cooler passages. I also tried to be mindful of where there were soft transitions instead of hard edges and started softening the edges at this early stage knowing it is harder to do once the paint is dry.

Once that layer dried, I added the darks and let the whole painting dry overnight.

The next day I came back with color over the underpainting, resulting in the finished painting at the top of this blogpost, "Rose Sweet Rose".

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Autumn Surprise

Autumn Surprise
8 x 10 Oil Painting


I've painted this gate before after my trip to Giverny, France last June. It's in front of a home once purchased by Monet for his grown children, 27 Rue Claude Monet. 
I've been to Giverny 5 times, but this was my first visit there in the fall and the town was just spectacular with the rich fall colors.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Rose Sweet Rose- A Different Approach

Roses Sweet Rose
16 x 16 Oil on Panel

One trait common to most artists is the continual quest to keep learning and growing.  I've been painting for over 20 years, but am always on the lookout for new approaches, methods, tools, inspiration to grow as an artist.

 In that spirit, I participated in a 3 day workshop given by artist Brian Davis last week. I've been familiar with Brian's work since he is known for his floral paintings.  While our subject choices may be similar, our approach to the  painting process is quite different.  I typically paint in a more impressionistic style with a direct alla prima approach, while Brian  is much more photorealistic and uses a grisalle underpainting, then lets that dry and adds color in layers as needed to refine the painting. I thought it might be a good idea to stretch way out of my comfort zone to try a radically different approach, knowing that even if I didn't pursue that approach wholeheartedly in the future, I was sure I'd learn something of value and hopefully have some fun along the way. ( If you are a beginning painter, you may want to wait till you feel confident in one approach before trying lots of different approaches, sometimes jumping from workshop to workshop can be confusing as you are just starting to learn. But for more experienced artists who feel grounded in their process, it might be refreshing to get "out of the box" once in awhile)

To speed up the process during the 3 day workshop, we used Alkyd oil paints, which dry faster than traditional oils. this already was new as I had never worked with the Aklyds before. They dry slower than acrylics, but faster( usually overnight) than oils.

 Here I am with Brian and his partially completed demo painting.

Day one we created a grisalle by adding white and black aklyds for light and dark shapes on a panel painted with a midtone grey acrylic underpainting.

 Day 2 , after the initial layer was dry we further developed the grisalle.

Day 3, we finally moved on to color.

Side by side with the photo we were using for reference during the workshop

Further development once I got home on Sunday and the final painting above  "Rose Sweet Rose" was completed on Monday.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Road to 27 Rue Claude Monet, Watercolor

             Road to 27 Rue Claude Monet
              12 x 16 Watercolor
             by Pat Fiorello

In this semester's watercolor class, "Taking Your Paintings to the Next Level", we are really focused on going beyond technique and simply copying photos to improving the design of our paintings. Moving from the literal thinking of "paint what's there" to the artist's language of  organizing shapes, values, colors, edges into a pleasing composition.  Here are a few steps in the development of the painting above, starting with the value sketch:
Simple value sketch of large shapes of light, medium and dark.
Begin with large, light or softer areas- sky and distant trees

I don't always do this but since the small fence with the leaves draped over it was my intended center of interest, I decided to get the intricate shapes and colors in there next.

Add in remaining buildings and begin foliage

Continue laying in remaining areas and adjust values and edges as needed.

Monday, November 9, 2015

French Delight

French Delight
9 x 12 Oil Painting
Another scene from France embellished to fill in for flowers that I imagined might have been there during Springtime.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

"New Years Lilies"

New Years Lilies
8 x 8 Oil Painting by Pat Fiorello
Bid at DPW

As we approach the holiday season, I will be offering some smaller paintings up for auction at some very attractive starting prices for those who might like a small painting for a holiday gift( or for yourself). This one is up for auction starting today at:

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


8 x 10 Oil Painting

Painted this study on location in Saint-Cirq-LaPopie, noted as the most beautiful small village in France by the French people themselves. It was a stunning town with lot lots of scenes to paint.  I'm sure I'll revisit my photo's from that day for further painting inspiration and I'd love to go back in the spring or sumer to see what it looks like when full of flowers.

 When choosing a  location to paint, I like to go with what captures my heart. A scene I walk by and  often literally gasp.  Over time you might notice you are drawn to similar scenes. I have certain themes I return to over and over. I can't resist sunlit vines. They have interesting, dynamic shapes, that have a sense of movement and the dramatic lighting and shadows. They just make me feel happy! I  used the basic architecture and light and shadow patterns here then further embellished the scene with some colorful flowers.

Monday, November 2, 2015

After Marilyn

After Marilyn
8 x 10  Oil Painitng
Had permission from Marilyn Simandle to copy one of her demo paintings of France. While one should not copy with the intent to sell of show another's work ( a copyright infringement), with permission and disclosure, it can be a very good learning experience to copy another painting, just as many have copied the masters before us.

Saturday, October 31, 2015


9 x 12 Oil Painting

Painted on location in Castelfranc, France, this scene required quite of bit of artistic license. One of my mentors always reminds me, "Don't paint what it is, paint what you want it to be" and I really took on that attitude as I approached this scene. The buildings provided a good framework for the light and shadow patterns and then I embellished the scene with colorful flowers from my imagination and distant trees pulled from some of the surrounding area. Below are some photo's from the location so you can see what it really looked like and how much editing I did.