15 Paintings – Flowers Challenge: The Bouquet, #1

Oh yes I went and did it again – another artist challenged me to 15 paintings and of all things, flowers!  Yikes this is not my favorite subject to paint, very hard with sticky oil pastels – but the only way to go is to take the challenge head-on.

So first up is The Bouquet, #1 (10 x 13) an oil pastel painted on a prepared gesso hardboard.  This is my impressionist version of a reference image that had a simple floral bouquet other tableware and a large busy window behind the flowers.  I decided to change it up by giving the flowers a background that lets the flowers become the showcase that they were meant to be.

To achieve the background, many layers of an acrylic underpainting were applied first and then several applications of clear gesso for some tooth before painting with oil pastels.  I’m not patient nor detailed-oriented enough to paint in a hyper-realistic style – so this bouquet was done with an impressionist style in mind using thick applications of OPs by the stick itself, my fingers and with a painters knife.  The painting was completed yesterday, but some of the flowers were atrocious, by letting it setup over night I was able to go in today, scrape and paint w/thick layers until the look I was after materialized.  A shame some of the beautiful colors aren’t showing as well as they could with this image.

Thanks for checking in – yeah, #1 is done only 14 more to go!!!  Click onto the image for a closer view.

The Bouquet, #1 The reference image was from Charlie Capuano a photographer with pmp.


About Mary

Oil Pastelist
This entry was posted in Challenges: Subject Matter Studies, Flowers, OPs New Paintings and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

101 Responses to 15 Paintings – Flowers Challenge: The Bouquet, #1

  1. ArtbyLinz says:

    Beautiful work Mary!! For a subject you don’t care to paint, you sure do an amazing job!! ❤️😊

    • Mary says:

      This is so nice of you Linz, thank you so much! Can’t tell you how much I appreciate the encouraging words – I find painting flowers a fascinating process.

  2. I of July says:

    love the colour… I esp like the detail on the glass… very impressive

  3. nutsfortreasure says:

    After seeing more of your work I may have to go back to school how I want to paint beautifully like you.

    • Mary says:

      Ah Eunice, you are too much! Such a compliment and I would go to school just to develop more creativity and a looser style as you prove out in every painting you do – that money can’t buy. So thank you for your beautiful comment and have a great day painting!

      • nutsfortreasure says:

        Thanks yes today paint tomorrow Boston hospital with Mom 🙂

        • Mary says:

          Been a long stay – hope your Mom will be home soon. Take care and I’ll bet you get many folks stopping by to see what you are working on AND loving what they see. Take care ~

          • nutsfortreasure says:

            🙂 yes 60+ days 😦 Hoping next week they will let her come home for the rest of PT after the staples are removed. Thanks

  4. Angie Mc says:

    I adore flowers and yours are *gorgeous*, Mary! Hooray for more flowers!!!!

    • Mary says:

      Hi Angie, thank you very much for your enthusiastic feedback – makes my day after a disastrous day painting yesterday!

      • Angie Mc says:

        Mary, if only I could have a disastrous day of painting that looks like yours!!! Picture a stick figure…that should cheer you up, lol 😀 Stay strong at it…as I know you will ❤

  5. Great glass work! Well done!

  6. elisa ruland says:

    Your selection of color in the background and the way the flowers drape over the vase is truly exceptional.

    • Mary says:

      Thanks Elisa – glad you enjoyed the design a first for me, but one I want to explore some more. The background was a whole lot of fun smashing the color around.

  7. lesliepaints says:

    This is beautiful, Mary. I like that use of turquoise blue and the textures you captured in this painting!

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Leslie – good eye there was some turquoise. The textures came from applying some of the oil pastels thickly with a painters knife, I like the effect – have to use Senneliers for this because they are creamy like lip stick and I can get a good scrape. Thanks again ~

  8. Yum! This is perfect for the first day of Spring. 🙂

  9. This is really beautiful, Mary. I love the lone flower, resting on the table.

  10. You’re on a roll, Kiddo! Lovely.

  11. Now this is quite an interesting piece, Mary. It’s beautiful, but that goes without saying and is apparent with a quick glance, but the more I study it, the more intrigued I become. There’s isn’t anything specific other than I love the background and table, the water in the glass is fab, but the piece as a whole is captivating. Did you do something different or is just your own brand of magic? 🙂 I love it.

    • Mary says:

      Hi Elizabeth, thank you so much for your thoughtful and generous feedback. This was an interesting piece to work out – the center is still troubling me and might have a re-visit this weekend. I’m trying to stretch myself, have always wanted to paint flowers and didn’t have a whole lot of confidence – this challenge, I hope, will put that to bed. Thanks again – have a wonderful weekend.

  12. ladyfi says:

    Wow – that is beautiful!

  13. Resa says:

    Sigh!!! It’s gorgeous, Mary! Thank you so much!

  14. Wonderful detail to this photo, Mary!!

  15. Francesca says:

    Oh Mary! This painting is G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S!!! I love everything about it: the composition, the balance, the colors and the light! Beautiful!

    • Mary says:

      Wow Francesca you are too much!! Love it and thank you for your generous feedback, it means a lot. Thank you for your enthusiastic comment – I’m so glad you enjoyed this piece.

  16. Great work Mary! The flowers look so delicate and lively….

  17. Pink Saucer says:

    Quite a challenged lined up ahead – but you are doing great beginning with the first! I have used regular pastel, but not oil pastel… Would love to try sometime as I like the more creamy texture…

    • Mary says:

      Hi Divya – thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. Oil pastel is a different animal, but once you get a feel for how it behaves you’ll get comfortable in painting with it in no time. Thanks again ~

  18. M-R says:

    Absolutely love it, Mary ! – and it’s so … out of your normal range !
    I’m hugely looking forward to the rest, I can tell you. 😀

    • Mary says:

      Hi M.R. – well thank you very much! Actually the style here is what I’ve wanted to do with painting flowers for the longest time, but didn’t have the courage to step out of my comfort zone. So now I have no choice and hope that the next 14 meets your approving eye!! Thank you my friend ~

  19. poppytump says:

    This is a real delight ! Ah Mary you may not think of yourself as a flower painting person but I remember many of your others ! Mind you this is quite a challenge , but you always hit everything head on I’m really looking forward to seeing the next … Poppy whispers …*14* eeek 🙂
    Glass I’ve found tricky actually very tricky Lol to make believable but yours definitely IS !
    I’d love that bouquet on my writing desk 🙂

    • Mary says:

      Hi Poppy – loved your response to this painting, thank you so much. The middle I’m still not sold on and will try to revisit, the values are too close and a bit muddy – so I’m going to let it rest and then see what I can do. Yeah, I know what you mean about the challenge, 14 flowers is going to be a little tough – but I’m going to take the opportunity to learn as much as I can about backgrounds, details and petal depth. Saw your message on Poppy – see what I can do for you. Thanks about the vase, my panic button will be pushed if I include a white vase somewhere in one of these paintings. Painting whites is very difficult for me, hard to see the proper colors, etc ~ stay tuned.

  20. restlessjo says:

    Such lovely soft edges, Mary! I like this very much 🙂

  21. Susan Feniak says:

    Its stunning Mary, absolutely stunning! I am sure you are up to the challenge. Although after reading the process I must say it will be time consuming. 🙂

    • Mary says:

      Thanks so much Susan – great to hear from you. I’m with you, I’m thinking this is going to take several weeks – but then it all depends if I paint on paper, there will be no prep work just laying the paint right onto the surface. So we’ll see. Thanks again, I really appreciate your beautiful comment.

  22. violetski says:

    Ah, this is really beautiful painting dear Mary! Delicate and stunning❤️

    • Mary says:

      Thank you so much Violet for your generous comment. I’m still looking for a softer approach, but oil pastels have a higher intensity level than soft pastels – I might not meet my goal. Like with your flowers, they are soft and delicate, beautiful. This will be a very long term project for me – hope that every one I paint, gets me that much closer. Thanks for your always encouraging feedback!

  23. Wow…beautiful! You have to do 14 more?? Wow!!

    • Mary says:

      Thanks Patrick! Yeah 14 is kind of painful, but I’m finding a lot of learning and growing happens during this process for me – so in the end it really is a great way to get my legs under me with individual subjects like this. Thanks again – glad you enjoyed the piece.

  24. Jackie says:

    Beautiful work, Mary! 🙂

  25. Gallivanta says:

    There can never to be too many flower paintings for me. Love the shine on the leaves.

    • Mary says:

      Thank you so much Gallivanta, if I had gardens like yours I’ve never be at a loss for great subjects. I love flower paintings, so I agree with you – never can be too many. Thanks again ~

  26. How lovely and yes to the flower challenge! Love, love the impressionistic approach you take on flowers, it is challenging but the results are most beautiful! Love the fact that the bouquet is not consisting of one kind of flower but many, it makes it really dynamic especially with the muted background! I must mention the perfect execution of the vase, now that is perfectly crystal clear! Fabulous first and I can just imagine the beautiful journey we are about to take with you down the flower avenue! 🙂

    • Mary says:

      Hi Eva, so you like the flower challenge?! It’s definitely will provide the challenge that I’m looking for w/florals. I absolutely want to take an impressionist approach with them – love the style and I’m hoping to get very comfortable recreating it in my pieces. Love your feedback and description – means a lot to receive your encouraging support. This is an exercise worth taking, I’ve been putting off this level of concentration of painting flowers and now no excuses to meet it head-on. Stay tuned, it could be a bumpy ride!! Thanks again ~ have a great Wednesday!

  27. Millie Ho says:

    Beautiful work, Mary! I like the detail you added to the base of the glass vase. The flowers have a dreamy vibe that reminds me of the still life from the 1800s. You have a classy style. Looking forward to more paintings!

    • Mary says:

      Hi Millie! Thank you, the vase came together much quicker than the flowers – it was a favorite part of this painting. So glad to read your reaction of the 1800’s that’s exactly the look I was after – you’ve made my day!! Thanks again ~

  28. Beautiful!!! Hard to believe flowers aren’t your favorite subject to paint.

  29. That is exquisite 🙂

  30. Yes, Miss Mary
    You did it again and we’re all the better for it.
    Fine work.

    Big Hugs

    uncle john

  31. The flowers are really lovely, Mary. I’m so fascinated by the glass vase too. It looks so real, as though I could just go into the painting and pick it up. I’m really looking forward to seeing the next fourteen paintings. 🙂

    • Mary says:

      Thank you very much Sylvia – you are so generous. The glass was interesting and kind of led the way for me, I’ve never tried to paint cut crystal and one of these days I’ll try but I think the detail would be very difficult with oil pastels. It was fun piece and glad you enjoyed it. Thanks again ~ (I know, 14!! – yikes).

  32. Amy says:

    Exquisite Mary! The background is beautiful, the composition of these flowers are perfect! Colors, Wow!!! I’m in love with this one. 14 to go 🙂

    • Mary says:

      Thank you so much Amy for your enthusiastic response to the arrangement – glad you enjoyed the piece. The background was the most fun with this painting, the colors and design drew me in. Thanks again ~

  33. Trini Lind says:

    So so beautiful!! 🙂 ❤

  34. That is absolutely stunning!!

  35. Beautiful, Mary. Exquisite. Very good luck for the next 14!

    • Mary says:

      Hi Sarah, thank you so much for your generous comment – means a lot. 14 seems daunting actually, flowers are a tough subject for me, but I just need to put my head down and get to it. Thanks again ~

  36. John says:

    My wife and I just looked at this one, we think it would look great framed on our wall! 🙂

  37. Hi Mary….I guess you know what you need to do right now. Flowers are a humble subject, but an eternal challenge. Some very famous paintings are of flowers. And they’re a pretty good subject for this time of year. Emerson says: “…the earth laughs in flowers…” I especially like them as single individuals. Enjoy your new challenge!

    • Mary says:

      Hi Cynthia, thank you so much. You are so right in that flowers are really humbling and intimidating especially with oil pastels – you can scrap the paint off, but if the texture gets lost it can be such a disaster. I can do extreme detail, but it’s such a paint w/o a liner brush that the clay shapers are essential in driving most of it. So with some flowers I’ll stay more loose in my strokes and other you’ll see the detail emerge, all the depends on the scene and type of flower. I love the old master florals, the handling of light/shadows and edges is incredible and there’s something to be gained by studying their work closely. That exercise has definitely helped me, a long ways to go but so worth the trip. Love Emerson and your quote is so perfect! Thanks so much Cynthia ~

  38. Anonymous says:

    I agree with the previous posts Mary. The flowers are delicate and lovely. I like the way you handled the background and the glass vase is executed wonderfully. Enjoy the challenge!

    • Mary says:

      Thanks so much Rhonda! There probably still needs to be a bit more definition to them, so I might revisit them when they set some. Too bad the rich burnt sienna isn’t showing up ~ have a wonderful night.

      • Painting for Joy says:

        Hi Mary. I just wanted to let you know I’ve been having trouble leaving comments on your posts as you see it says “anonymous” next to my icon. Guess I’ll just do it from the reader from here on out. I apologize for the confusion.

        • Mary says:

          Hi Rhonda, I don’t understand why the system is doing this – I haven’t heard of it happening to anyone else. You may want to contact WP Staff and ask them to check into your blog, they may be able to help.

          • Painting for Joy says:

            It happens when I click on the link within my email and I’m then directed to your site. Before I can post a comment it asks me to log in which I do. So it’s happening somewhere in the log in process. And it’s only happening when I use my iPhone or iPad. Weird. Got my computer back from the PC hospital so this shouldn’t be a problem anymore. Sorry for the hassle. It’s happened to me on Evas blog too.

  39. I love your paintings they are absolutely beautiful!!!

  40. Wow Mary! You say you are not a flower person but these look great! I love what you did with the muted background and the tablecloth too! Can’t wait to see the next 14!! ~Rita

    • Mary says:

      Thanks so much Rita. I couldn’t quite get the colors to be as brilliant and clear as in person, but it’s represented as close-enough. Really appreciate your thoughts on the background – loved working this one out.

      I may have stretched a bit too far taking up this challenge, we’ll see how it goes.

  41. A.PROMPTreply says:

    Okay, first impressive thing is that water and how you pulled off those stems in the water! I can’t imagine how you got that effect and still have a clear glass effect going on for the glass. That’s amazing to me. I really like this style for this pic. I love how you gave the impression of petals on the tulip in the front of the bouquet (I hope it’s a tulip…I’m not flower savvy) I also like the big white flowers. But I think probably the thing that most stands out to me after the glass/water detail is the difference in the leaves in the bouquet. I’m not sure what you did differently, but it’s very obvious that there are different types of leaves happening though with this style, of course, nothing is specific. I really like your works in colour….I look forward to them the most!

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