According to the calendar, spring has arrived. Although there’s still snow on the ground here in Massachusetts, we’re anticipating warmer days and craving all that spring brings with it. We thought we’d share some art inspired by flowers, along with tips and ideas from our favorite mixed-media artists on how to create a variety of beautiful blooms.
1. In her June 2014 Cloth Paper Scissors Art Lesson, “Color Blocking with Paint Pens,” Jane Davenport created a garden of vibrant flowers, inspired by Victorian botanical illustrations. Using jumbo paint pens, she recreated the flower shapes, and then brought them to life by layering colors. Jane added details to the blooms with lighter versions of the colors she started with, and then added shadows and highlights. Jane’s tip: Make sure to use water-based acrylic paint pens, and let the base color dry, so subsequent layers of color will really pop.
2. Here’s a great use for scraps: In her book Doodle Trees and Happy Bees, Kim Anderson’s rose garden starts with simple stems. Using lots of different shades of green paint and pens, she placed blades of grass over the stems, and then collaged leaves and other flowers to create a garden with lots of depth and visual interest. Kim suggests cutting or punching out fabric and paper flowers and leaves for collage from different papers while the grass and drawn flowers are drying.
3. Elitia Hart used metal sheets to create dimensional flowers for her painted and collaged box in “For the Love of a Summer Evening,” in the July/August 2015 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. If you think embossing on metal is difficult, Elitia shows you how to get it done in a few simple steps. She began by stamping a flower image onto a metal sheet with black ink. After tracing the lines of the stamped image with a Teflon® stylus, she flipped it over and retraced the flower on the back, slightly inside the first traced lines. Flipping it back to the front, the area around the flower image was flattened with a paper stump. The metal was then flipped to the back once more, and the flower area was pushed out with a paper stump, stretching the metal and adding dimension. Elitia’s trick for keeping the embossed area from being flattened: Fill the embossed areas with beeswax. Beeswax hardens quickly, allowing you to add scratch lines and details to your design within minutes.
4. Take some colorful ribbon and fashion simple spring blossoms with the help of Danielle Donaldson’s article, “Tumbled Blossom Garland,” in the March/April 2016 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. Danielle not only shows how to make these clever blossoms, she uses them in a colorful garland. Begin by tying a loose knot in the end of a ribbon. Twist and turn the ribbon in a circular fashion around the knot, spiraling outward and basting the ribbon in place with a needle and thread as you go. Danielle says these blossoms take some practice and not to get hung up on making them perfect. Tip: Don’t trim the threads; leave some hanging as a design element.
5. If doodling is your preference for art inspired by flowers, Deborah Muller will help you build a library of leaf and flower designs. In the Spring 2016 issue of Zen Doodle Workshop magazine, Deborah shares her designs and advice. Her flower designs are made with a collection of simple circles, lines, heart shapes, and swirls. Practice with the shapes she provides, and then add your own flourishes to make them unique. Deborah says it’s helpful to start your design in the middle and work outward to help balance the design. She also notes that you can use any shape to start and then layer, using different sizes of those same shapes for added interest.
6. Who says finger painting is just for kids? In her book Painted Blossoms: Creating Expressive Flower Art with Mixed Media, Carrie Schmitt provides numerous techniques for art inspired by flowers. In this featured piece, which she calls “Flowing Flowers,” she started by adding loose paint circles to the background with her fingers, and then sprayed the circles with water. She added more circles/flowers with her fingers, allowing the paints to mix and mingle, and continued to spray water with each paint addition. The paint drips serve as stems; others were added with a fine-tip paintbrush. Carrie added details and flourishes with her fingers as well. If the blended paint gets muddy, Carrie suggests letting the paint dry fully and then covering areas you don’t like with fresh paint. Another tip from Carrie is to paint over muddy areas with white or another light color paint and start again.
Feeling a bit warmer, and looking to to make some of your own art inspired by flowers? Check out more inspirational resources below.