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!

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


  1. Thank you for posting "steps." As a somewhat of a beginner still, this speaks MILLIONS to me. I know what I want to end up with, but don't know how to get there. Thank you again.

    1. You are welcome. I have a few other quick slideshows on you tube- if you search" youtube Fiorello" you can get them. Also don't know where you live, but I'm teaching an oil painting workshop in Georgia in the fall . Details at: and if you would like to keep posted on upcoming workshops feel free to sign up for my monthly newsletter, "Bringing Beauty to the World" There's a place to sign up by scrolling the right side of my blog or the bottom of my home page on my website.

  2. Yes, thank you. I'm working on a peony bouquet painting now and it's killing me! About ready to give up :( but no, will keep going, at least for another couple of days. Thanks for the inspiration!!

  3. Sissy, peonies are tough. You really must squint and get the big shapes. It's tempting to want to get every last detail. I have one I did recently with a different approach which was more tedious and less fun that is back ob the blog in January. They have soooo many petals .-really need to simplify. Good luck- keep at it. I recommend doing lots of smaller ones as opposed to one big one, less invested and faster learning.