Behind the Scenes of Ferns 1 – 3

It all began with one small fern painting

A couple months ago, a lovely woman whom I work with at my nearby yoga studio knew I was getting ready to hang some new art. I’m the resident artist there, and every few months I switch out with some new pieces. I also show three pieces at a local chiropractic and wellness center and my friend also sees a professional there, too.

She loved one of my paintings at that location. This one, called Maiden Hair Fern:


She wanted to get it, but the price was too much for her at that time. So I said to her that I could paint her a smaller one for a price she could afford. I offered an 8×10 on gallery framed canvas (the 1 1/2″ thick edges vs. 3/4″ traditional canvas) of the same maiden hair fern with the same color scheme.

And so I painted it!

I also brought it in with the new smaller paintings I was showing at the yoga studio, and my friend was there and I showed her the new maiden hair fern. She loved it, until she saw one of my Buddha paintings, and she HAD to have one of them. She couldn’t get two, so she went home a happy new owner of a gorgeous piece of original art – which happened to be the same color scheme, too!

What to do with one small fern painting?

I had the idea almost right away to create a set of three fern paintings. I love all kinds of ferns, and I really like this sort of modernish way I’ve expressed ferns on these pieces. So I found some lovely reference photos and created two more pieces to go with the first.


I was looking at color combinations that would go well with turquoise. Yellow green was one, and so was a reddish purple. So I thought, the last fern will be a yellow-green and the middle one a mauve color. And all of them with sort of similar backgrounds of soft light shining through.

After drawing them out, I put down a thick background with lots of texture. Later I would be sponging on glazes, but I still want texture.

I was rather pleased with the end result of the background colors. I also chose opposite or complimentary colors as the basic shape outline for each fern image. Purple for the yellow-green and blue for the reddish purple.

Color runs into trouble

I finished the Fern #3 first, which is the one on the left in the above photos. It turned out well, and further experimentation helped me create more depth to the leaves.

Every good behind the scenes story has a problem, and this one is no different. When I started the blue fern I was painting in the leaves with this heavy textured mauve colored paint. I carved veins into the leaves and was going merrily along.

This is what it looked like:


I had about 2/3 of it painted with this mauve color when I stood back and squinted at it. I like to do that to test out the value – the lights and darks. Well, I basically couldn’t see anything! The value of the fern matched the value of the background and it just disappeared! I knew I had to change the color, but I could not stop right where I was and paint over the leaves. 1/3 of the leaves were still flat background image. The rest had LOTS of texture, and it would for sure make the whole thing lopsided if I didn’t finish painting the mauve and etching in the veins. So that’s what I did.

Dark green was what I ended up painting it, with some iridescent green tips, which gives it a kind of 3D effect with the texture on it too.

All three together look like this. Ferns 1-3. Don’t you think they look fabulous?



Buy them separately for $120 each or together as a set for $350, save $10. Free shipping if you live in the lower 48 states, US. I don’t have them in my gallery yet, but if you want to get them now, then just Contact Me.



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