Katie Liddiard

Building The Impression In A Floral Still Life

Katie Liddiard
Duration:   53  mins

With initial washes blocked in for your floral still life, you’re ready for the next step. Artist Katie Liddiard guides you in building the impression in the painting, an intermediate stage of painting that brings your flowers to life by carving and shaping flat versions of the forms. Katie explains that blocked-in colors you used needn’t be exact; focus on vibrancy and harmony. On her palette, Katie begins working with a light pile, a pink pile, and a leaf pile as she begins adding petals and building flowers. She also sees that the background needs work, and mixes a nonspecific blue-gray tone to harmonize with and build contours around the roses, keeping it close in value to the foliage.

Katie pays attention to movement in her still life as the flowers begin to open, making mental notes when they’re at a stage she wants to capture. At the same time, she’s adjusting and adding color and always checking value relationships. Building the impression uses more paint than the washes of the block-in stage, but primarily you should be using paint from the tube without mineral spirits unless necessary to loosen paint slightly.

Building the painting quickly but intentionally, Katie adds layers of color, stepping back, squinting, and correcting balance and light. Her directional brush strokes provide information about shape and dimension. Using multiple brushes for different paint mixes helps reduce time spent cleaning brushes, and holding the brush near the end of the handle, as far back as possible, offers the fullest view of the work and the subject. The painting remains fairly flat, which is correct — don’t let the painting get ahead of itself! Katie begins to do some blending at this stage at the edges where forms meet the background, and recognizable flowers begin to emerge. It’s time to let the painting dry overnight. Next, you’ll start adding details to complete the painting.