Notes on Becoming an Artist of Flower Oil Paintings

Getting Started as an Artist of Flower Oil Paintings

Getting started as a floral artist is easier than you know. All it takes is the desire to paint. The first thing you will need to do is enroll in some art classes that teach painting. It can be either oil or watercolor. It might take a little bit of searching to find a class but it will be worth it. Taking a painting class offers many benefits.

The first being instruction in the “how to” of flower painting. You will have the advantage of being tutored by an experienced artist or multiple artists who can help you as your painting of flowers develops. The instructor can help you select the objects of your flower still life, arrange the set up and also develop the composition that is most pleasing. As you are working on your masterpiece, an instructor can offer suggestions on how to handle problem areas in the painting and also help you figure out how to paint other areas in it.


Red Rose paintingTyler Rose
Flower Art by Teresa Bernard
16″ x 12″
Oils on stretched canvas

>> More info


Another advantage of taking an art class are the students. They can offer camaraderie, give ideas, and also give feed back. Every artist needs this feed back as it gives them an idea of where they are in their skill level. Knowing this bit of information is important when you are ready to sell your paintings.

Starting Your Oil Painting of Flowers

To get your flower oil painting started you will first need to set up your flower arrangement in a still life setting. This entails first selecting the flowers you wish to put into your painting. If you take a walk through your yard, neighborhood or local park, you will likely find a lot of flowers, providing it is the time of year when flowers are in bloom. Be sure to take your camera with you and snap a photograph of them to use as resource material.

You could also purchase some flowers at your local supermarket or flower shop. The only problem with these is they will probably wilt and even die before your painting is finished. Therefore I suggest you photograph your arrangement once your floral still life is the way you like it. That way when your flowers fade you still have the photograph to use as reference material to finish your painting.

For more information on using reference photos of flowers see articles titled “Using Photographs As Reference Material to Paint Flower Oil Paintings” and “Flower Oil Paintings From Reference Photos“.

As part of your setting you may want to consider putting your flowers in a beautiful vase, add drapery and some other elements that hold special meaning for you. All of these added elements will complement your flower arrangement and make your painting one that you will enjoy for years.

Sources of Props for Your Flower Still Life

If you looking for unique and unusual items to include in your flower still life paintings, then there are a number of places you can rummage through to find props for your art. The first most obvious place is to look around your own home. Check your attic, basement, garage, and closets too. Anywhere you might store items you want to keep but don’t necessarily want to put on display for one reason or the other. Family heirlooms are usually hidden away in these places. These items make can great props for your paintings as they will bring back fond memories for family members who view your painting.


rose flower paintingYellow Rose of Texas
Flower Art by Teresa Bernard
18″ x 18″
Oils on stretched canvas

>> More info


Another place to look is local antique shops, garage sales and flea markets. You can find great props to include your flower still life paintings. Then once you are done using the prop you can display it in your home as part of the décor if you like.

Getting Discovered as a Floral Artist

If as a floral artist, you’re waiting around to “get discovered”, you just might be waiting for a long, long time. Getting discovered doesn’t happen at the drop of a hat. Few artists are fortunate enough to be “found” and thus acquire fame. Most artists have to work to make that happen. Here are a few ways to get your art in front of the public.

  • Display your art in local businesses and establishments.
  • Enter your works of art in local and county art shows.
  • Get a local gallery to show your art and have a private showing of your work.
  • Have your own private showing and invite the public to come.

For more information on how to sell your artwork, see article titled “Ways to Market Your Art“.


The Flower Paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe

georgia o'keefee
Georgia O’Keeffe

Georgia O’Keeffe was a modern day fine artist of flower oil paintings born in Wisconsin in 1887. She attended the Art Institute of Chicago in 1905-1906 and at the Art Students League, New York (1907–1908). During her art career she became one of Americans distinguished female artists. O’Keeffe revolutionized modern art with her paintings of nature and is generally recognized as the “Mother of American modernism”.

Her favorite subject matter to paint on canvas was the flower and she seemed to like the calla lily, poppy, canna, iris, petunia and jimson weed the most when it came to flowers. O’Keeffe frequently painted flora in large-format paintings with enlarged close up views of flower blossoms. This close up perspective gave the viewer a sense of looking at the blossom under magnification. Georgia O’Keeffe chose this approach because she believed no one really looks at flowers. Her large-format paintings would require the viewer to take a real look at flowers.


rose flower painting“Yellow Rose of Texas”
Flower Art by Teresa Bernard
18″ x 18″
Oils on stretched canvas

>> More info


During her lifetime, Georgia O’Keeffee painted many flower paintings. Some of her more well-known floral masterpieces include “Black Iris”, “Blue Morning Glories”, “Jimson Weed”, “Oriental Poppies” and “Red Canna”.

Black Iris (1926)
black iris by georgia o'keeffeO’Keeffe’ famous irises were an important preoccupation for many years; she favored the black iris, which she could only find at certain New York florists for about two weeks each spring. The enlargements and abstractions derived from the flower have often been explained in gynecological terms, almost clinical in their precision. However, O’Keeffe rejected the notion of her flowers as sexual metaphors – this is something she feels is created by the viewer who applies his own associations to the works, not hers.

Blue Morning Glories (1935)
blue morning glories by georgia o'keeffeThis oil painting features a close-up of blue morning glory flowers and is one of the most popular paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe. The colors are beautifully utilized, making the painting look very vivid and sharp. This painting is an example of the Precisionism style, for which O’Keeffe was quite popular for. The enlarged size of the flower depicted is eye catching and the colors are used are even more enchanting.

Jimson Weed (1936)
jimson weed by georgia o'keeffeThis oil painting depicts a large blossom of jimson weed, or datura and is part of a series of paintings O’Keeffe did of this plant. She was immensely fond of jimson weed and ignoring its toxicity, she allowed it to flourish around her patio. She paid tribute to the bloom in this painting, originally entitled Miracle Flower.

Oriental Poppies (1928)
oriental poppies by georgia o'keeffeThis painting depicts two giant poppy flowers. The original painting measures 30″ x 40″ and is an explosion of brilliant colors on a vast canvas, creating a mesmerizing effect. Dazzling reds and oranges were used as the main color of the petals with deep purple for center and the inner contours of the flowers. There is no background to this painting which artfully draws focus onto the flowers.

Red Canna (1924)
red canna by georgia o'keeffeThis painting depicts a red canna flower. O’Keeffee composed it using abstract patterns derived from nature and depicted by means of restrained brushwork. The vivid and bright colors that were so beautifully chosen evoke an energetic and natural vitality, all the while, complementing each other in a unique way. One of the main features that make this painting really wonderful is the intense red and orange hues that subtly change into pearly whites.

The flower paintings by Georgia O’Keeffee are a favorite of Teresa Bernard. If you enjoyed these floral paintings, you will want to check out more fine art paintings in this genre of art. See Flower Oil Paintings by Teresa Bernard.

The Flower Paintings of Vincent van Gogh

van gogh self portrait
Self Portrait by Vincent van Gogh, 1889

Vincent van Gogh was a Dutch born impressionist and post-impressionist artist. In his life time Van Gogh painted a lot of paintings. Among these were still lifes depicting flowers. Van Gogh loved nature and flowers offered him the opportunity to portray nature at its best. He often used ordinary flowers that grew in the countryside near his home as subject matter for many of his flower oil paintings. Some of this floral art is considered among his most famous masterpieces. For example, his sunflower series is perhaps the most famous of all his works. The flowers he chose to paint were put into floral arrangements standing in vases and also as flowers laying down on the ground. He also loved to paint flowers in their natural habitat, the countryside and gardens. From van Gogh’s depiction of sunflowers, irises, roses, poppies, corn flowers, myosotys and chrysanthemums, he brought life and emotion to his work putting his own unique perspective on it.


Red Rose painting“Tyler Rose”
Flower Art by Teresa Bernard
16″ x 12″
Oils on stretched canvas

>> More info


Today Van Gogh is loved for his passion which clearly is indicative of his work. His sunflower painting is one of the most loved of his flower oil paintings. Other favorite flower paintings by van Gogh are of irises.

Some of his most loved flower paintings include:

sunflower painting by van GoghSunflowers, 1888, oil on canvas
One in a series of sunflower oil paintings by Vincent van Gogh. The series show sunflowers in all stages of life, from full bloom to withering. The paintings were considered innovative for their use of the yellow spectrum, partly because newly invented pigments made new colors possible.

irises van gogh paintingIrises, 1889, oil on canvas
This is one of many paintings of irises. Irises was painted while Van Gogh was living at the asylum at Saint Paul-de-Mausole in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France. Each one of Van Gogh’s irises is unique. He carefully studied their movements and shapes to create a variety of curved silhouettes bounded by wavy, twisting, and curling lines. The cropped composition, divided into broad areas of vivid color with monumental irises overflowing its borders, was probably influenced by the decorative patterning of Japanese woodblock prints.

van gogh almond blossom paintingAlmond Blossom, 1890, oil on canvas
This painting of delicate almond blossom against a clear blue sky is from a group of several paintings of blossoming almond trees. Van Gogh painted this to celebrate the birth of his nephew and namesake, son of his brother Theo and sister-in-law Jo. He chose the branches of an almond tree – a variety that blossoms as early as February in the south of France, where it announces the coming spring. The subject, the bold outlines and the positioning of the tree in the picture plane are borrowed from Japanese printmaking.

still life with red poppies and daisiesStill Life: Red Poppies and Daisies, 1889, oil on canvas
Between the years 1886 and 1890, Vincent van Gogh completed seven different paintings featuring poppy flowers. Van Gogh did not have money to pay models, so still-life painting became more practical.

vase with pink roses van goghStill Life: Vase with Pink Roses, 1890, oil on canvas
Van Gogh painted this particular painting shortly before his release from the Saint-Rémy asylum. As the end of his stay in Saint-Rémy and the days ahead in Auvers-sur-Oise neared, Van Gogh conveyed his optimism and enthusiasm by painting flowers. The painting reflects the optimism Van Gogh felt at that time about his future, both in his choice of flowers as a subject and the colors used.

If you enjoyed these floral paintings, you will want to check out more fine art paintings of this genre. See Flower Paintings by artist Teresa Bernard.