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!

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.