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!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Yellows & Blues

Yellows & Blues
12 x 16 Oil Painting
by Pat Fiorello
With spring upon us, thought I'd try out some tulips. Thought these pale yellow ones might look nice with the blue and white china.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Backyard Blooms

Backyard Blooms
20 x 24 Oil Painting
by Pat Fiorello

Wanted a sunny and a little bit more impressionistic feel to these peonies in the sunlight set up in my backyard. Worked from a photo I took last spring when I had purchased bouquets of both color flowers and set them up  together under natural light outdoors.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

From the Top

From the Top
16 x 20 Oil Painting by Pat Fiorello


I came across this beautiful crystal trumpet vase on- line and it arrived the other day Excited to try out some new paintings with this new "prop" . A different shape than many of my other containers that I often use for my still life paintings and I knew the crystal would be a challenge to keep simple.

I took several photo's with different lighting. Tried this one first that had lighting from a nearby window above. Also have another set up by the windows that has more light on the vase. I hope to start shortly as another very different view and will share it when it's done.

Below are some of the steps along the way.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Hydrangea Joy!

Hydrangea Joy
16 x 20 Oil Painting
by Pat Fiorello

Been painting mostly delicate white flowers for a few weeks now, so was in the mood to get back to some vivid COLOR!

Many years ago I read something in an art book that stuck with me. The author said that every painting has to go thru an "ugly phase. " My interpretation of that is, each painting goes thru stages in it's development where it's not done yet and you wonder, "will this ever turn out"?

 Some of my students hit this phase and get concerned and want to give up on a painting, but I remind them it's like baking a cake. If the recipe says bake for 45 minutes and you take it out after 20 minutes- of course it's not going to look like a very good cake. You need to keep pushing through and reserve judgment for later in the process. At least wait until the whole paper or canvas is covered. Before that it's simply too early to make an assessment because you are comparing shapes, colors and values to a lot of empty white space on your paper or canvas.

Below are some of the earlier phases of "Hydrangea Joy" .  You can see there are definitely some ugly, even scary parts to push thru, especially when I paint with the transparent layer underneath.  You have to go darker and more intense than necessary and from there you''ll reign it in. Initially the colors are so strong and garish that it can be frightening, but take a breath and continue on knowing that your shapes, colors, values and edges can be adjusted to turn something ugly into a thing of beauty.

Yikes! this is where it gets scary for me

Friday, February 5, 2016

Sparkling Daisies

Sparkling Daisies
8 x 10 oil painting
by Pat Fiorello

Over the past 20 years, I have had the good fortune of studying with many talented artists/instructors. Every one had made a contribution to me. Whether I embraced their methods or did not connect with their methods, I always have learned something valuable.  My attitude when attending a class or workshop is to be open, know there is something to be gained by the experience and then come back to my studio, try out what I've learned on my own and see what practices, materials and methods I want to incorporate into the way I paint.

I have at least 6 or 7 ways I can approach painting flowers. The one I use most often is to paint with a transparent underpainting and then build on top with opaques. Recently, I took a wonderful on-line program with Dennis Perrin. I enjoyed his method and clear instruction. However, I was curious what would happen if I combined some of the things I like about the transparent underpainting start with the "Value Map" block in suggested by Dennis. This start is different from how Dennis starts with a drawing( typically in red), but just out of curiosity I wanted to see how combining methods would work. I have used his full method and very much like it, but just as an experiment decided to mix things up.

Below is the initial photo that was my inspiration and steps along the process. I was happy to see that this combined approach worked nicely in the finished painting above, "Sparkling Daisies".

In the end there is no one "right " way to paint a painting. Just like there are many roads to arrive at the same destination, there are many ways to achieve your painting intention. The key is to learn, experiment and find a way that suits you best. I love "Alla Prima" (i.e. all at one, wet into wet) painting. It really suits my personality to jump in, be direct, see something thru to completion and then start on something new. It's exciting and energizing for me. I've tried glazing methods in both watercolor and oil. While I can execute them with fine results, I find the experience less invigorating and energizing for me. However, I can appreciate that others totally enjoy this slower, more methodical approach and can achieve beautiful results in that way too.

So the bottom line is be a sponge, take in various methods and input from your instructors, other artists and your own experiments. Then you get to say what works for you. And you may like to change it up depending on your mood, painting subject or size of just for the fun of it. But at the end of the day, how you got there may not be as important as where you wanted to go in the first place and did you fulfill on your intention.

Original reference photo which I cropped to eliminate some excess background, wanted a closer in viewpoint
Transparent Underpainting Start

Starting to map in the painting by  building "Value Shapes", starting with darkest value and heading toward lightest value( lightest lights not in yet)

Further refinement

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