Painting Process "Jubilee"

Colleen Wilcox Floral Art Original Art Tropical Flowers

Happy New Year! Although we are well into January the Hawaiian weather has been holding strong this year making everything look sunny and bright. Although some of the summer flowers such as plumeria are not currently in bloom, the island is lush with ginger, hibiscus and much more. Since I am constantly inspired by admiring the local nature, one of my favorite things to paint are what I call floral "medleys". In these swirling, dynamic compositions I arrange a variety of tropical plants amongst abstract shapes, fluid lines and washes of color. 

My newest original "Jubilee" is my latest floral medley painted on a 16"x 20" canvas using acrylic paints and water based paint pens. It features some of my favorite plants and colors, and hopefully presents a feeling of warmth and happiness to the viewer. If you'd like to learn about how I created this piece, read on!

tropical floral painting

I began "Jubilee" by gathering ideas online for the specific flowers, plants and color combos I wanted to include. Saving photo references to my phone or a Pinterest album really helps me focus my intention for the art piece. 

Once I decided roughly where I would place the main elements (hibiscus, plumeria, ginger, and heliconia), I sketched them onto my canvas using pencil. I usually flush out the pencil composition more than I did, but in this case I was eager to get some color in to help me figure out the arrangement of more elements. 


The first colors that went down were what I wanted to be the main focus in this piece (those handful of flowers I originally chose). 

floral art painting process

 Next I began filling in areas of contrasting color (greenish leaves) and also defining some of my pencil lines so I wouldn't lose the original pencil composition. 

floral art painting process

I continued filling in areas of color all over the canvas using what I call a "feeling process". This is when I try to sense which color to fill in next without using my logical brain too much. When I get into "the zone" this can feel very intuitive. 

floral art painting process

 I continued the process of adding color, layer after layer. Some of the colors were swirling shapes and washes of color, and some of them were details and shading to fill out the more realistic plant elements. 

floral art painting process

I found it important to step back from "Jubilee" often to see how things were progressing and evaluate any changes of direction that needed to occur.  

floral art painting process

 The bulk of the hours painting "Jubilee" were spent just repeating the aforementioned process of adding color layers, stepping back, adding more. 

floral art painting process

 Once I reached a certain stage of progression, I began outlining the main shapes using my favorite Posca paint pens in black. 

floral art painting process

 I also used micron pens for even tinier areas of detail and finer lines. 

floral art painting process

Adding the black lines was so satisfying!  

floral art painting process

When working on this painting I turned it sideways in every direction, like I always do. This helps me balance out the composition and see things from a new perspective.  

floral art painting process

 As usual, I discovered a problem area in this painting... there's always at least one! I just couldn't get it right in the area below the yellow plumerias. I painted over this area in white paint so many times trying to figure out what I wanted to put in. 

floral art painting process

 After many changes, I ended up adding these small white pikake flowers seen below. 

floral art painting process

 After many hours and weeks of adding layers of color, rearranging elements, and then finalizing the design with clean black lines, "Jubilee" was finally finished! 

Girl holding tropical flower painting

I sealed the painting with varnish and got a high resolution scan before shipping the original to its new owner. With the scan I am able to offer prints and reproductions of "Jubilee" for many to enjoy in the coming years. Here is a link to some of the products I am offering so far: Matted Prints and iPhone Cases

I hope you enjoyed my painting process. Wishing you many blessings and happiness in the New Year! 










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