Painting Flower Study #3: Exploding Bouquet

Bouquet with Hydrangeas Study | Oil on Panel 5” x 7” 

The choice of painting a bouquet for this study was an interest in experimenting with a wide array of flowers and colors. Study #2 Hydrangeas from a couple weeks ago was very encouraging, so I wanted to ensure they were part of the composition; this reference photo had them smack dab in the middle, so it was a great starting point.

The thick “teeth” of this canvas panel were surprisingly helpful with this study, somehow making the paint strokes more textural in all the right places. Once the rough in outline was completed, I rarely looked at the reference photo, so the painting became more free form and experimental. 

As the painting evolved, I was trying to focus on high contrast values, with the intent of giving a sense of depth. After a couple of passes, the composition started to get an explosive feel whereby the flowers were jumping out of the center of the bouquet. Although this is a relatively unrefined study, I can tell the compositional approach will work in a more structured, completed painting, which might ultimately be the best approach. 

My last thought on this study is how would it change if I added a vase to the bottom of the painting. It would run off the edge of the canvas, but it would give some additional texture and context to the work. But I don’t think that’s the way to go because it would take away from the “explosion” feel the bouquet conveys in its current design. 

I probably have 2 more studies to do before making a final decision for the larger painting. I’m leaning towards a singular flower dominating the frame; maybe a rose. Stay tuned!

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