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, June 30, 2017

Birthday Love

Birthday Love
9 x 12 oil painting
by Pat Fiorello
This painting was a commission for a special birthday gift from one of my students to her adult daughter who lives on the west coast.  All she told me was that her daughter's favorite flowers were white roses and blue hydrangeas   (happen to be my favorites too!) She wanted them in the garden, not in a vase, but other than that gave me free reign. There is no one place that this actually was inspired by- I  totally made it up, but I surrounded myself with photo's of those types of flowers to keep me in touch with my feeling for those flowers and their essence.

Creating the painting felt really good- it was fun and freeing and I am really pleased with how it turned out. Might be one of my favorites ever.

My favorite thing is to create art that is going to be given as a gift to a loved one. For me, that feels like the true mission for my art. To help people celebrate love!

I lost my own mother last July and spent her last (87th) birthday with her on July 2nd while she was in hospice in a nursing home in NJ.  That was the last day I spent with her before coming back home. She passed away the following week. This painting commissioned by a lovely student who I am very fond of, to her daughter whose birthday is July 3, really had me in touch with the love between mothers and daughters.

 I always appreciate feedback and was especially happy to get this message back from my client:

"Thank you so much for spreading love through your paintings!"

What better purpose is there for art than spreading love?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Patience -2

Patience - 2
12 x 16 Oil Painting
by Pat Fiorello
Did a second version of the flowers shared in the last post. This time arranged different lighting and went with a lighter background.

Do you have a favorite- Patience 1 or 2? I can't decide.

Patience 1

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Patience- 1

Patience -1
16 x 20 Oil Painting
by Pat Fiorello
Ordered some David Austin "Patience" roses from the local wholesaler, "Cut Flowers" last week.  I figured "Patience" was fitting since that's what I've needed a lot of while I'm recovering form the accident. Now at week 10 of 12 that I need to be totally non-weight bearing on my left leg, then moving on to several months of physical therapy.    

I have to say this was one of the more challenging subjects I've painted.  The flowers are complex and I include the whole dozen. Probably a study of one or 2 might have been a good idea first, but when you have fresh flowers, the clock is ticking before they are gone, so I just jumped right in.

Below are the set up I arranged and a photo's of a few steps in the process.
I did a second version with a lighter background and will share that soon, but for this one I used overhead lighting and more of a mid-tone background for contrast.

If you love flowers, you may want to come join me on my upcoming workshop in June 2018 to "Paint the English Gardens " in Cornwall, England- Click link for details.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Fearless Painting- Suncatchers revisited

Suncatchers -revisited
12 x 16 oil painting
I've had a pile of paintings in my studio that were complete but I thought I might be able to improve on them. That pile has been sitting there for at least a year and I've never touched it . I resisted it because I'm usually much more excited to start something brand new rather than finishing something already in progress.

But this month, since I've been recovering from my accident (for those just tuning in I was hit by an SUV while crossing the street in April),  I've started reaching into that pile of "fixer-uppers" with the intention of using them for experiments.  These small learning opportunities aren't be too time consuming since there is already an existing idea, composition there, and I'm just exploring possibilities to enhance what was already there.

Today I took out "Suncatchers" which I painted a couple of years ago inspired by a springtime photo I took at the NY Botanical Garden. The original version of Suncatchers is  pictured below. At the time I painted it, I liked it and I still do, but I was wiling to risk it to possibly learn something. My thought was that I could add more variety.  My intentions for this lesson were (1) push the color temperature variation a la Joaquin Sorolla who used really warm yellows in the sunlit areas and cools in the shadows. He is one of the masters of depicting a sensation of sunshine. (2) Experiment with the palette knife to get more mystery, texture and rich thick paint  and (3) Push a little further towards impressionism/looseness vs realism.

I intentionally did not look at any reference photos- just responded to the painting as an abstract design and where I wanted to have light, darks, hard edges, soft edges etc.. ( Before starting I did sand down any existing texture and then oiled out the canvas).

Original Suncatchers

Below is a close up of a little corner of the painting now which shows some of the thick paint and broken/soft edges.

Close-up of some texture in new version

In the end it was a fun afternoon, playing with paint, without any attachment. If I took a poll,  I'm sure some people would prefer the original and some would  prefer the new version, but for me the value was in the lesson and getting experience with handling the paint in some different ways.

Are you willing to risk good to potentially discover what might lead to great?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Sunflowers- experimenting with the palette knife

Sunburst- Revisited
6 x 12 oil painting
by Pat Fiorello
Doing some more experimentation with the palette knife. Took a painting I'd completed a couple of years back and sanded it down and decided to rebuild it using the palette knife mostly and a little bit of brushwork at the end.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Dreamy -White Roses- experimenting with the palette knife

 8x8 oil painting
by Pat Fiorello
Was doing a little study of 3 roses from a photo. Did a little experimentation with a palette knife at the end to destroy some of what had been created.  Adds a little mystery, texture, edge variation.  Think I will continue to experiment with this. What do you think?

Monday, June 12, 2017


9 x 12 Oil Painting
by Pat Fiorello

Recently visited a lavender farm in North GA. They also had a lovely colorful field of cosmos.

I decided to give it a try in a painting. It was a very complex field so there was a challenge to simplify, yet not lose part of the essence of this type of field that is inherently busy.

I started laying in the dark background and different greens of a lighter value that other foliage would be laid on top of at later stages.  I had toned the canvas with a light application of thinned transparent oxide red and viridian. I then took a paper towel and q tips soaked in gamsol (solvent) and lifted out where the flowers of pure color would go. So below is where I started to work on the flowers. Then it was a process of putting down shapes of color (that's what painting is) and refining and then coming on top of paint with lines, dots and dashes to suggest the busy-ness of the field.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Spray Roses

Spray Roses
12 x 16 oil painting
by Pat Fiorello
I have 3 general approaches for starting a painting and vary them based on my intention for the painting, the needs of the subject matter, or sometimes just the mood I'm in.    Sometimes I do a hybrid approach to combine the best of the methods. So there is no particular formula that is right. There are countless ways to create a painting.

For this one I decided to try an approach that I use least- that is to paint in  midtones and dark all over the canvas and then wipe out where my lighter flower shapes will be.  

I had these spray roses as subject. Didn't want to have them in the vase, but wanted to give more of a "gardeny" feel.

Here's the painting blocked in and then with the light shapes wiped out.
Then started to tone the shadow areas of the light flowers, add lights and further refine shapes.

I purposely did not want to spell out an exact rendering of each flower, but developed what I wanted as the center of interest further and left other areas just suggested.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Garden Spot

Garden Spot
6 x 8 Oil Painting
by Pat Fiorello

Took an old painting, sanded it down, oiled it out and then rebuilt the paint strokes with thicker paint. Kind of fun to do or a change. There's already a design and basic values blocked in so you get to play with color, brushstrokes and thicker paint.

Friday, June 2, 2017


 12 x 16 Oil Painting
 Continuing with my "Garden Fresh" series of flowers on plants in the garden, as opposed to arranged in a still life,  is my newest painting, "Flowing".

Of course I loved the abundant cluster of these beautiful garden roses, but also liked the idea of them flowing down, like a waterfall.

Here's a photo of what I originally saw ( If I recall correctly,  this was from a trip to Tuscany where flowers were growing against a stone wall).

I took a black and white version of the photo and added my own white and light grey magic marker on top of it for light shapes I wanted to add to improve the composition, especially in the top area which is kind of empty in the original photo. Then eliminated some shapes that were unnecessary or distracting ( e.g. in the lower right corner). From there, proceeded with painting "Flowing" (pictured above).