Painting Tips with Bill Alexander: Midnight Roses

Bill Alexander is known for his happy trees and magnificent mountains, though he painted other subjects. Today’s tip comes from a video we filmed originally for PBS. Bill is painting a large bouquet of flowers. He is using abstract strokes to show how to use color to create a beautiful painting.

Points To Consider:

  • The background paint is wet.

  • He is creating forms using dark and light values.

  • He sees the finished painting in his mind.

  • He places shadows where he knows they will go even though he hasn’t painted the object that will cast the shadow.

  • He is using thick, firm paint.

  • Once the paint is on the canvas, Bill uses very light pressure on his palette knife. It barely touches the canvas. If he pressed too hard it would scrape off the paint below.

  • The background color is thinly painted. This allows the thick paint to go onto the canvas with ease

Bill’s message throughout this painting is to not be afraid of color. Notice the shapes he places on the canvas with his knife. He keeps the darks where he wants the shadowy area and uses a lighter green where light would be hitting the arrangement.

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