Matilija Poppy, oil on canvas, 8.5” x 11.5 inches
Matilija Poppy, oil on canvas, 8.5” x 11.5 inches

The only thing I like in this painting is the Matilija poppy and maybe the shadows. I’ve painted Matilija Poppies (much better) before like this one that also appears in the book “The Watercolor Artists Bible” along with several other of my watercolors. For some reason I find it much harder to paint flowers successfully in oils.

I started this mostly yucky painting by first using Procreate to design a color plan to work from (below) that I unfortunately didn’t exactly stick to. I like the digital version much better. Then I did a black and white underpainting in acrylic before painting in oils.

Color plan done in Procreate and black and white photo for values
Color plan done in Procreate and black and white photo for values
Photo of set up
Photo of set up
Art, Oil Painting, Procreate on iPad
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Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. I really like your work and have been following it. Your comments are so useful, both positive and negative. Having just gotten Procreate and not exactly sure how I will use it, you have inspired me. I like that you parse your subjects; think things through, and then work at it. This is my style, although I don’t have enough skill to do it as you do. I like your aesthetic. I am primarily interested in figurative painting, but find your flowers very appealing. Understanding value, color, shadow… it all carries over. I am thinking I will do some still life as exercises to grow my skills.

    Thanks so much for sharing. I look forward to more work from you.


  2. Thank you so much Ellen! There are so many ways to use Procreate. You can similulate working with natural media, working on one layer just as you would a real painting or drawing or you can go very graphic and flat and/or very digital, using many layers with different elements on each. And it’s great for doing sketches and value studies before starting an actual painting.

    I love to learn new things, as you noted in your comment. It seems like as artists we never feel like we have the skill to produce what our knowledge and imagination can set forth for us. Sometimes all that study and learning and knowledge clicks and a piece just kind of paints itself but most of the time I forget some important aspect (like getting the drawing right or the values, the two most important parts I think) and I go for color (the most fun part) and I fail.

    Thanks for you kind words about my flower painting. Back before I started trying to learn oils, I was really good at painting flowers in watercolor and my watercolor flower paintings were in several books. But I really struggle with painting flowers in oils and gouache. With watercolor I focused on details but working alla prima in oils is a completely different approach where it’s necessary to be more abstract, loose and impressionistic than photorealistic because time is so limited. Working photorealistically or from photos of flowers in oils doesn’t interest me as much as trying to capture the flowers fresh from life. As you noted, still life is a great way to practice and learn painting skills that will apply to figurative work (and it’s easier to convincingly paint an apple than it is a head or figure!)



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