Paint Bold Blooms and Blossoms

Birds and frogs are in full song, and flowers are shooting up through the dirt almost overnight. It’s official: spring is here. In celebration of colorful blossoms, today’s newsletter focuses on a unique floral painting by Lyn Diefenbach, of Yeppoon, Australia, third place winner in the Still Life and Floral category in this year’s Pastel 100 competition. The following is an excerpt from an article by Beth Williams in Pastel Journal’s April issue.

Painting Gum Blossoms

Paint flowers with pastel“Australian wildflowers are a challenge to paint,” says Lyn. “Some of them are intriguingly complex and rather chaotic, but on careful inspection have a wonderful order to them. They’re purpose-built for a harsh environment, and you can’t help but admire their tenacity.”

Her award-winning Gum Blossoms (right; pastel, 23×11), featuring sunlit anemone-like pink stamen “petals” native to the Land Down Under, is a painting “all about the contrasts of textures and shapes,” Lyn says. “It’s also about creating the illusion of dimensionality. Compositionally, I had to be careful because of the strong vertical and horizontal components, but I found that the shadow provided the cohesion needed.”

The process for her bold, complex flower paintings begins with a photograph. The compositional process, she says, “is further investigated by using two right-angled pieces of paper that I move around on the photo until I settle on a format that describes the subject in the most exciting way.” In this case, she was interested in the long vertical edginess of the leaves which, she says, “helped elevate and emphasize the round messiness of the bloom itself.”

Unless she’s using multiple images for a painting, Lyn bypasses the preliminary sketch stage. “I squint to identify the value and edge relationships within the subject and then open my eyes to see the color of the tone,” she says. “I work from dark to light, and basically from top to bottom, completing elements as I go.”

To unify the color and value transitions, the artist blends with her finger or with strokes of pastel. “Any blending is always done in a sculptural way,” she says. “I imagine the feel and the shape of the object and put that imagined feeling into my hand action.”

Lyn uses multiple pastel brands, including Terry Ludwig, Sennelier, Great American, Girault, Holbein, Henri Roché, and Unison, and works on either Kitty Wallis paper or Ampersand Pastelbord. She says her methods are always evolving as an artist. “I’m building on what has gone before but always searching for a greater understanding of my craft to give voice to my artistic vision and to speak eloquently of things that delight and inspire me.”~Beth Williams

From your flower-child at heart,

Cherie Haas, online editor**Click here to subscribe to the Artists Network newsletter for inspiration, instruction, and more!


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