It is said that flower painting is the most delicate form of fine art, and fine art is an art form that has been created for the purpose of beauty or aesthetics. Applied art though, has been produced for some functional purpose. Many people wish they could paint, and they can, as painted art can be seen as the epitome of man made beauty. The purpose of this web site is to show people that they can paint, and that they can paint fine art well. We will do this by providing you with the best information about two of the best flower painting artists around today – Gary and Kathwren Jenkins.
We will keep you regularly updated about the products, courses and other information related to the Farbi Flora range of Gary Jenkins signature products.
Table of Contents
1.0 Getting Started
2.0 General Information
3.0 Painting Supplies
4.0 Your Special Place To Paint
5.0 Photographs and Painting
6.0 Color, Colour and More Color
7.0 Composition and Technique
8.0 Basic Brushstrokes Flowers and More
9.0 Basic Brushstrokes Foliage
10.0 Painting Techniques Leaves/Foliage
11.0 Painting Techniques Roses
12.0 Painting Techniques Poppies
How Do I Start Learning
There is a great deal more to flower painting than the application of paint. For instance, you must learn how to load the brush properly what painting medium to use, the purpose or reason for the medium, when and how much medium to use, how to transfer the pattern onto the canvas, and so much more. The following information is essential in the fine art learning process. Always refer to this section while learning to paint this technique. Keep in mind that much of this information applies to a wet-on-wet painting style.
We would like to suggest that you read through these pages thoroughly before you try to paint the techniques. You should familiarise yourself with the brush strokes and styles of painting. If you are a beginner, a good foundation is essential. Know the basics. Take the time to master the techniques. When you start to paint there are so many areas in which to learn. These include the proper way to load your brushes, what brushes to use for what purposes, in what consistency the paint should be mixed. As you progress with your painting, you’ll learn more about colour and composition.
A very common question asked by beginning students is “how do we learn all these things?” Well, there are many fine books available, as well as video tapes, and of course classes, which teach you many techniques and styles of fine art painting. After you have been painting a while, you’ll be creating wonderful paintings on canvas. The main area not to worry about is finding a painting style. A style will develop through your work. When learning to paint, sometimes you will feel a lack of imagination. Well trust me; all artists feel this way at times. The longer you paint, the more your confidence will grow! Soon, you’ll discover you can tackle any subject matter.
An introduction to Oil Painting The Jenkins Way.
Most of the paintings described in the books, DVDs and YouTube videos are painted using the “wet-on-wet” style of painting. This method allows you to paint several layers, one atop another, without letting the proceeding – or underneath – layers dry first.
When you are first learning to paint, be patient with yourself! Take your time… Study… Practice… and then practise some more. Practice as much as you possibly can. Good things can’t be forced. You will have times when you thing you are progressing, and you will have times when you think you are regression. This is very common, Relax and just keep practicing. You will eventually see yourself improving.
To begin to be an oil painter, all you need to start with is a strong desire to paint, and to learn a few basic techniques. You will need to acquire good basic supplies as your tools. There is also a lot of good reference material, and instruction material such as books and DVDs to learn from, as well as painting seminars held around the world.
We have always expressed the use of colour and creativity. The use of colour is almost endless. This is especially so with floral paintings. The softness and transparency of the Jenkins Floral paintings has become an increasingly popular style of painting in the last four decades among hobbyists as well as the more experienced painter. Many thousands of artists around the world are now painting and teaching the Jenkins style of oil painting.
Jenkins Wet-On-Wet Technique
The flower painting techniques taught in Gary Jenkins books and DVDs are of the wet-on-wet style. This means painting one colour on top of another while they are both wet. This style is a very fast way to paint and will achieve soft edges with subtle colouring. Painting one colour over another will create many beautiful and colour combinations. Please don’t get frustrated with this technique, or become afraid of smearing the colours. The wet-on-wet style is a very exciting way to paint. Remember to experiment with the colours, relax and have fun in the process.
Transferring The Patterns
Before you start to paint the subjects in this book, you’ll need to apply the pattern onto the canvas. You will need a pen or stylus, and graphite paper NOT carbon paper. Do not confuse graphite paper with carbon paper. Carbon paper, typically used for typing, has blue or black ink on it, and when transferred to the canvas, will smear and bleed into the paint. Graphite paper is a dark grey paper that is sold in rolls or sheets. You’ll place the graphite paper down on the canvas, lay the pattern face up and trace over the lines with the stylus or pen. One graphite sheet may be used over many times.
Setting The Graphite Lines
Some artists like to set the graphite tracing with a spray fixative so as not to lose the tracing when painting begins. We prefer not to use fixative as we feel it sets the lines too permanently and they may eventually show through the paint. If we want to set the tracing, we will outline it with a small liner brush using Yellow Ochre, or any compatible colour thinned with turpentine.
By using turpentine, the lines dry very fast and you can begin painting almost immediately. The Yellow Ochre and graphite lines will blend with brush strokes, leaving no visible pattern lines.
Laying out the Palette
No matter what kind of painting palette you use, try to use a large one. Always lay your colours out around the outside edges. This allows you to keep all the space in the centre for mixing colours. Also we like to lay out all the warm colours together, (example: reds, yellows, oranges, pinks), and all the darker or earth colours together (example: browns, blacks, greys, greens), Always place your white paint on an area of the palette that is away from your other colours. This way you will not into it when picking up another colour. Keep your white as clean as possible when painting.
Brushes: Care and Cleaning
Fine art painting requires good brushes, and a good brush is hard to find. So when you finally find one, take good care of it! It is very important that you clean and condition your brushes after every use. Rinse your brushes very well in clean, odorless turpentine. Do this step several times, blotting the brushes on an old towel or on paper towels until the paint is removed. When you think you have all the paint out of the brushes, arrange them neatly on a clean dry towel, and allow them to dry completely.
Never use soap and water on natural hair brushes, as it dries-out the hairs by removing the natural oils.
Once you have cleaned and dried your brushes, it is time to condition them using either a brush conditioning oil or baby oil. Dip each brush into the oil, and work it thru the hair with your fingers. Shape the brush back to its original form, and chisel the end or point. The tiniest amount of paint left in the brush, will get down in between the hairs, and eventually cause the chisel ends, or points, to spread apart. With the brush saturated with the oil, place it upright (hairs-up) in a brush holder or jar.
Place the brush upright, with the hairs up, the oil can be left in the brush. Re-moisten brushes with oil periodically, even if you haven’t used them. Keeping the brush hairs moist and conditioned will help keep their shape, and they will stay soft longer. When you are ready to paint, just wipe-off any excess oil onto a towel. You do not need to rinse it out before painting.
Important: Never use oil on the ‘blender’ or ‘mop’ brushes. Just rinse these brushes well with turpentine and fluff dry on a paper towel.
Also important is when you wipe your brushes on a soft paper towel in between a different color; never rub the chiselled ends on the towel. Instead, squeeze the brush thru your fingers with the towel. This will force, or train, the brush to come to a chisel, and not wear the ends down or split them apart.
Do not mix acrylic paints with oil paints, and do not paint acrylic paint over oil paint. If you paint some of your back- grounds in acrylic, (as we often do), remember this important rule: You can paint oil over acrylic, but never acrylic over oil.
Varnishing Your Paintings
Paintings need to be completely dry before varnishing, and drying can take between 4 and 6 months. This is because the top layers of the paint dry much faster than the underneath layers. The painting could be touch dry, but it could still be wet underneath. If you varnish too soon, it will seal the top layers of paint, but as the bottom layers dry, they will expand, and as they do, they will cause the top layer of paint to crack. This is especially true when an artist paints very heavy coats of paints, or uses a palette knife to paint. The wet-on-wet method uses thin, fast drying, layers.
The climate/weather also affects the drying time. If it is too cold or too humid, it will dry more slowly. If it is warmer and less humid, it will dry more quickly. So, the drying-time rule of 4-6 months is more of a guideline than a rule, which can vary depending on the weather in your particular area.
Types of Painting Varnish, And How To Use Them
There are several different types of varnish. What you choose is up to you. There are brush-on varnishes, and there are spray-on varnishes that are specifically made for oil paintings. There is a matte varnish, and a semi or gloss varnish.
The best varnish is a spray one and you use 2-3 thin even coats. Read the directions on the can for the recommended number of applications. Spray several inches away from the painting. First, spray all in one direction. Let dry. Then, spray another coat in the other direction. Let dry. Be sure to apply thin coats. Don’t spray varnish in cold weather. It will affect the final finish. Always spray outside, as it is flammable and has strong fumes.
Flower painting requires the best quality oil paint that you can have. It is important to use a paint that has a lot of pigment in it. The less expensive paints have less pigment, or have inferior grades of pigment. If your paint does not have a good concentration of pigment, you will have to use more of it, thereby having to replace your paint tubes more often. With the Jenkins technique, the key to creating flowers that look light and airy is not to go over the stroke too much. With an inferior paint, you will find yourself going over areas more often than necessary just to get good coverage.
It is also important to use a paint that has a consistency that is neither too stiff, nor too soft. It is difficult to achieve our nice, loose-flowing, signature style with poor quality paints. Too stiff of a paint will be hard to spread and will have to be broken down with more medium. Too soft of a paint will prove to be challenging to work with when it comes time to adding the highlight, which need to be put on a little drier than the underneath layers.
We also like to use a line of oil paints that offer a large range of ready-mixed colors. Although it’s true that you can learn to mix your own colors, it’s so convenient to have all the beautiful colors readily available to you. This will also encourage you to use more color in your painting—especially with flowers. We hope that you will find yourself experimenting more and more with color. You can buy the Gary Jenkins range of oil paints that are made by the Old Holland Paint company, in our shop.
BRUSHES AND THEIR USES
With regard to brushes, consider the brush as a tool; if a brush is not properly constructed and is not made of superior materials, it cannot possibly be used for proper application of the paint. Your brushes must work with you, not against you. They are one of your most important tools.
The brushes for the jenkins Technique should come to very sharp chisels, or points. The chiseled ends help to achieve the crisp edges, such as those found on flowers and leaves. Preferably, the brushes should be made of sable hair, or of a comparable soft synthetic hair. We never use stiff-bristle brushes.
Filbert Brush: The filbert brush is a flat but slightly rounded or tongue shaped brush. Since the filbert brush has a rounded profile it is especially helpful when painting things such as; small cluster flowers, chrysanthemums, daisies, small sun flowers, exotic bird feathers, and more.
Flat or Bright Brush: The flat or bright brush should be somewhat soft, with a little spring to it. Too soft, and they will get too limp when paint and medium are added to them. Too stiff, and it will scratch across the canvas surface and actually pull paint off. You will not achieve those smooth strokes that are so important with the Jenkins style. This is the most common shape of brush that we use.
Liner Brush (a.k.a. script brush}: This brush should also be made of sable hair, or a synthetic hair of good quality. It is a small brush with long tapered hairs, ideal for painting; twigs and branches on trees, bushes, and grasses. It should be flexible, not too stiff, and the bristles should taper to a very fine point.
Small Round Brush: Similar to the liner brush, but with much shorter hairs. It also comes to a very sharp and precise point. It should also be made of sable hair, or a soft synthetic. This brush is great for painting detail, such as; stamens in the center of flowers, facial features of birds or other animals, and the very fine detail found in portraits and other subjects. This is also a great brush to sign your name on your paintings.
Blender Brush: There are several different styles of blender brushes. The first is a very fluffy brush that we’ve nick-named “the Bunny Brush”. It is a large flat brush that is squared-off on the ends, and is made of very soft, white hairs. The second type of blender brush is sometimes called a “mop brush”. It is a fat, round brush that is also very soft and fluffy. Blender brushes are very useful for blending background colors together, and blending objects to achieve softness. One technique called “lost and found edges”, can add depth and drama to your painting by blending some of the edges out-of-focus.
All of the aforementioned brushes come in several different sizes. The size of the canvas will usually correlate with the size of the brush. (Smaller canvas=smaller brushes, etc … )
MEDIUMS AND THEIR USES
There are many types of painting mediums on the market today. Some mediums are fast drying, while others are slow drying or extremely slow drying. The wet-on-wet style of painting does not work effectively with faster dying mediums. You will want to add medium to the paints to thin them to a different consistency.
Sometimes you’ll be instructed to use your paint “dry”, such as in highlighting flower petals. By this we mean no medium, or just a tiny touch of the medium to smooth the paint onto the brush evenly. If you want the paint to flow off the brush easily, as in painting backgrounds, you’ll mix more medium into the paint. For all base tones of the flowers, your paint should be thinned to an ink-like consistency. Also, when using the long liner brush to paint thin lines, the paint must have a great deal of painting medium mixed with it.
Mediums enable you to change the original consistency of your paint to the thinner mixtures required to build your painting in stages. When you add medium to your oil colors, you want to feel assured that the integrity of the paint will not be compromised by its addition. A good medium actually adds to the brilliance of your oil paints, while giving you a thin, pleasant working consistency. We have found a formula ideal for retaining a smooth paint mixture that will glide off your brush, and blend easily onto the canvas. Your paintings will also enjoy a longer life than those painted with materials that will dry the oil paints too fast.
For the Jenkins style of painting, mix Linseed oil and turpentine. We use half Linseed oil, and half odorless turpentine. This is a good, fairly slow-drying medium, which allows your paints to have a nice workability.
We recommend using odorless turpentine. Always use turpentine in a well-ventilated area. Be careful, as it is very flammable! Turpentine is used to clean and rinse brushes. It can also be used as a medium by itself, instead of being mixed with Linseed oil. It will make your paint dry faster, and will leave the paint colors a little fuller than the Linseed mixture. Used alone, turpentine is good when doing “under paintings”—thin, watercolor-like washes. Turpentine is a much thinner consistency than Linseed oil.
The canvas we use and recommend is portrait smooth, stretched canvas. Other canvas may be chosen, but the smooth surface and bounce of this canvas gives back to the painter as much as the painter gives to it. The canvas should also have a very good primer on it, preferably double, or triple-primed, so that the oil paint does not soak in. We never use canvas board for painting, except when practicing.
Another reason we prefer smooth canvas is that a rough finish canvas will wear down the delicate chisel ends of the brushes much faster. Also, by painting on a smooth finished canvas, you can achieve a more refined and detailed look.
MISCELLANEOUS SUPPLIES AND THEIR USES
A palette is used to lay your paints on when you are ready to paint. There are several kinds available. The kind we recommend and use is the disposable paper palette. It comes in a pad form with several sheets on it. When you are finished painting, you simply tear the sheet off and throw it away. If you have a lot of paint left on it, just transfer it to another sheet with a palette knife. This type of palette saves time and clean-up. We prefer a large palette because it gives you plenty of room to layout your colors and mix paint. Be sure to use a paper palette that is especially for oil paint. This paper is coated on one side in order to eliminate oil from soaking through. Always lay your paint out on the coated side.
Other palettes available are wood, which has a hole in it for grasping, as well as plexiglass and glass palettes. These palettes must be cleaned each time you paint.
This is transparent white paper that comes in a roll or sheet (from a pad). Use the paper to trace designs or patterns onto your canvas.
This is available in rolls or sheets. It is placed under tracing paper which allows you to transfer your design to the canvas. Graphite and transfer paper is available in white or black.
Pencils are used to trace over patterns that you are transferring to the canvas. You can also use a stylus. It is a tracing tool that has a thin handle and a very small steel ball at the end. There is no lead in the stylus.
This is a handy tool for mixing color on your palette or for transferring old paint onto a clean palette. Many artists paint with a palette knife but this is an entirely different style of painting then the Jenkins’ style.
FOAM APPLICATION BRUSHES
This is an inexpensive water washable brush used for applying acrylic paints to many of our backgrounds. Foam brushes are also used for applying varnish.
ACRYLIC PAINTS (OPTIONAL)
These are water mixable paints used on some backgrounds.
Turpentine is used for rinsing and cleaning your brushes.
This is a must for cleaning and wiping your brushes while painting. We recommend a very soft absorbent paper towel. Soft paper towels absorb the paint and turpentine the best.
GOLD LEAF (OPTIONAL)
Gold leaf can be used for backgrounds, borders, ete. for your paintings.
Used as a final protective coating for your paintings. Varnish also makes your paintings easier to clean.
FAST DRYING MEDIUMS (OPTIONAL)
If you would like your paint (oil) to dry faster, you can add this to your medium.
CONTAINERS FOR TURPENTINE AND LINSEED Oil
A large container is used to hold your odorless turpentine and to rinse your brushes. A small container is used to hold your medium. Glass or metal containers work well, but what works best is a large glass container with a smooth coil at the bottom. As you carefully run your brushes over the coil, it will help to remove the paint from your brushes.
NOTE: Never use a container with a screen in it. The rough screen will split and wear down the hairs of your hush.
Whether you use a table easel or a stand-up easel, wood or aluminum, it is fine, but be sure it is sturdy and adjustable. Aluminum easels are of lighter weight and more portable than wood.