When I’m visiting family in Virginia during winter, I always make a point to walk through the botanical gardens near the Capitol in Washington, DC. It is one of my favorite places, and the hothouse flower rooms are just what I need to warm myself through when it is so chilly outside, though this year that wasn’t much of a concern considering how balmy the weather was!
Over the holiday, I made it a point to go there with a mission: Get inspired by the flowers and plant life so that during the next few months when I’m stuck inside, I will have inspiring images to work from when I want to focus on painting flowers.
The gardens don’t have flower arrangements or cut flowers on display, so I was able to focus on how to paint flowers as they naturally occur and grow in the wild. It was really interesting to observe how differently plants grow and sprawl about. You don’t understand the flower in the same way when it has been neatly clipped and arranged in a vase.
I also wanted to avoid looking at flowers and flowers alone because a flower bud is only one part of a flower oil painting. All the greenery, leaves, and stems that come along with a blossom deserve attention too. I, therefore, spent a lot of time in the jungle room, where it was humid and sticky and all of the foliage is lush and verdantly green. It may not suit you if you want to paint colors, but I thought all of the different leaf formations and different shades of green with the light hitting them was really lovely.
I hope to take the images I found and work with them to create colorful and organic floral paintings in the next few months. But before I put brush to canvas I’m going to brush up on my painting flowers techniques with Julie Gilbert Pollard’s Discover Oil Painting – How to Paint Flowers. The lessons Julie leads us through really inspired me, and there are so many ways you can incorporate floral painting that I can’t imagine getting enough of this. I hope it is the same for you. Enjoy!
P.S. Where did you go over the holidays that might inspire your artwork in the future? Leave a comment and let me know!