Katie Liddiard

Finishing A Floral Still Life

Katie Liddiard
Duration:   1  hrs 5  mins

You’ve done the block-in and impression phases of a floral still life — now complete your artwork with artist Katie Liddiard’s guidance. Katie begins by oiling out the painting, reviving color and depth with a thin layer of one part medium to three parts mineral spirits. With paint mixed from the previous session, she begins building up form, extending her value range, and adding details. In this phase it’s okay to use medium, used minimally in the impression stage. Katie brings areas of the roses forward by adding highlights with the lightest paint. Next, she works back and forth between the lighter and darker pink areas, adding a deeper pink to the flower centers and blending with a small brush.

Katie concentrates more on specific areas at this stage, developing each form by working on light, shadows, and color temperatures. Squinting and stepping back helps her continually assess progress. If something feels uncomfortable, Katie says, it’s probably a value issue, so consider where you might need to bring a value into context with the forms that surround it. Train your eye to evaluate and edit. Don’t forget the background as you paint over the washes of the impression phase. Contour flower petals thoughtfully and bring hints of the background color into the flowers to show their translucency. Use glazing to add a hint of color where needed. It’s okay to leave some areas of the painting less finished to add interest and variety, Katie says.

Finally, it’s time to paint foliage. Katie chooses a fresh brush, corrects her paint mix, and begins to suggest leaf forms without unnecessary detail. Next, she adds brighter leaves as accents, considering the movement of the entire painting and where she wants the eye of the viewer to go. The floral still life is now complete — not a photocopy or reproduction, but an artist’s beautiful expression.