Flower Art Glass Oil Painting Painting Plants Still Life

Orchids in Green Bottle & Mental Spam

Orchids in Green Bottle
Oil on panel, 14×11″ (larger)

I love painting glass and was happy with the way this bottle turned out. I tried to use the same free and fun approach I take to painting glass in watercolor and it actually worked this time. I wish the flowers were as easy.

It’s easier to show off the beauty and delicate nature of flowers in watercolor than in oil paint, especially white flowers. In watercolor you don’t use white paint, but rather leave the brilliant white of the paper for white areas.

White oil paint can look blueish, cold, chalky and dull so in oil painting you have to create the illusion of warm glowing light by placing either dark or subdued, neutral, or grayed colors beside the white so in comparison it looks bright.  It also helps to add a little yellow or orange to white paint to warm it. I tried doing all of the above in this painting, but still struggled with the white flowers, scraping and repainting several times.

I read an inspiring and funny post on singer Christine Kane’s blog called “What Spam Can Teach You About Inner Peace.” It’s really worth reading if you have one of those annoying inner critics who says mean things about you or your artwork. While you’re there, check out another post of hers that is helpful for artists and/or self employed people, “How to Get Off the Hamster Wheel.”

14 replies on “Orchids in Green Bottle & Mental Spam”

These flowers are so inviting!

As a beginning watercolorist, I can state categorically that _I_ do not find it ‘easy’ to paint white flowers in watercolor! So the fact that you DO, means that you are good at watercolor and learning oils…

I like so many things about this painting: the framing, the delicacy of the shadows on the petals of the blooms, the shadows, the highlight on the vase, the purple ‘tongue’ on he right-hand orchid, the colors that show through the bottle…


Thanks Gwendolyn! I didn’t mean to imply painting white flowers in watercolor is easy, but it does seem easier than in oils to me. ~Jana


Wow! The glass is gorgeous! Love the color range, and the contrast between the bottle and the table it’s resting on. Nice sense of color you have!

I’ve been working so hard trying to improve my color sense so your words mean a lot to me! ~jana


i know how you feel when it comes to painting flowers.

they have always been one of the hardest subjects for me.

it’s so hard to catch the nature of them, i agree.

this looks great though, and the gray and yellow you used definitely warms them up !

i also enjoyed the vibrancy of the glass bottle and the yellow/green on that really draws your eye up to the yellow/green on the orchid stems, and vice versa.


Thanks for pointing out the connection of the yellow/green on the bottle and the stems. I guess I’d done that intuitively rather than consciously but it does seem to work, doesn’t it. ~jana


The bottle is glorious, Jana, so freely painted yet so glass-like…the flowers too look fresh and light. I tried to paint those same orchids (phaelenopsomething?) a while ago in oils, and had a very stiff, chalky result. Am struggling at the moment to paint whites in watercolour (without just leaving all the paper white!) and am finding it just as tricky!


I really like your oil paintings – I’m wondering if this is a new venture from watercolor and how that experience has been for you. You’ve done a wonderful job with the bottle and the flowers both! Thanks for visiting my blog as well…


I just stumbled upon your blog, and really liked your paintings. I love the composition of this painting, and your use of deep colors to emphasize the white of the orchids.


Wow – you have gotten sooo good at this oil painting, Jana! You almost give me courage to try it myself – almost……


Oh my!! What a gorgeous and lush painting this is! In fact, all of your oils are wonderful. You are inspiring me to get out the long handled brushes…

I am the opposite of you. I am an oil painter turned watercolorist, more from necessity than desire…and I can say without reservation….your white flowers are simply stunning!


Comments are closed.