Dancing Tulips – step by step

Dancing Tulips, acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20, contemporary impressionist, Kit Miracle

It was late winter and I was really yearning for spring.  Since the temperatures had been so erratic and the only flowers in bloom were crocuses and a few daffodils, I went to my stock of photographs for some inspiration.  This pot of beautiful pink tulips had been a gift from a friend and called out to me.

I decided to try some bolder colors and strokes for this painting.  I amped up the colors and got really loose with the brush.  Overall, I’m pretty pleased with the final results and might create some more paintings in this style.

Since I was using bolder colors, I first did an underpainting in bold, contrasting colors of peach and green.  Then outlined the flowers in blue and green.

Dancing Tulips – step 1. The underpainting for this was salmony peach for the left side and dusky green for the right. I then outlined the flowers in blue-green. Then painted the backgrounds. The left was painted shades of violet and blues. The right side was painted in shades of yellow with some greyed violets at the bottom.

The second step was to paint in as much background as I could using shades of purple and blue for the shadow side, and yellows and whites for the light side. As you can see, I varied the strokes in size and direction.

The flowers were underpainted with an orangey-red. The leaves and stems were underpainted with a transparent medium blue.

I then underpainted the pink tulips with a bright orangey-red and the leaves and stems with a transparent blue.

This is a close-up of the tulips after they were painted. Many shades of pink and lavender with highlights of light and pure white. You can see hints of the orangey underpainting poking through which makes the tulips come alive.

After this, I worked on the tulip flowers with shades of pink and lavender, some purples for shadows.

Dancing Tulips, detail 1, Kit Miracle

And then the leaves and stems, seeking contrast with shadows and highlights.

With final tweaks and details, I’m pretty pleased with the overall results of this trial.

Artists are always trying new things, techniques, colors, subject matter, materials.  We don’t always show our experiments but sometimes they turn out remarkably well.  This is how we move forward and change, often in incrementally slow steps.