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Flower Painting with a Limited Palette

Earlier this year I worked on a series of floral studies in oil. I wanted to approach the complex and ever-changing subject of flowers with a limited palette and a simplified process.

Alla prima oil painting of peonies flowers by Sadie Valeri

To warm up I first did this quick copy after a 1749 Jan Van Huysum flower painting.

I used a very limited palette of white, dark brown, and three primaries:

Some days I worked all day on one bloom, and then added additional blooms on another day.

As the flowers opened, bloomed, and then faded I followed their progress over the days.

The fun thing about single-session alla prima painting from living objects is the challenge becomes addictive. Every day I woke up excited to try again to catch the spirit of the opening blooms.

For many of the paintings I filmed a time lapse video. You can see them all over on my YouTube channel.

For these works I used the same process as for my recent seashell paintings. Read my blog post "Oil Sketching in Lockdown" for a detailed list of the materials and methods used.

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