Floral Painting: Daisy In Blue; Detail

Floral Painting, Optical Mixing &”Daisy In Blue” In Particular

Floral, in this case, the depicting of flowers in art. 

Floral Color!

Greetings!  Its springtime here and flowers are everywhere.  The blossom’s colors, bright or soft, give a sparkle to the landscape.  Roses, irises, and peonies shine in the neighbor’s yards.  

The joy of flowers in spring had me thinking about Dad and his floral paintings.  So, I thought I would share with you my memories of John Stermer and “Daisies In Blue”.  

Floral Painting: Daisy In Blue

Somewhat Wilted Flowers, Please.

As I recall, Dad liked to paint flowers and bouquets.  He especially liked painting them when they had started to wilt – just a bit past prime, or later.  I am guessing that the reason he favored the wilting flowers is that they create fascinating shapes and edges.  

Edges: Petal Curls And Twists.

Take a look, if you would like, at the flowers in your garden or neighborhood.  Compare and contrast the flowers in their different stages.  That is, from bud to blossom and beyond the flowers change shape and color.

Or, if you have a bouquet in your home, watch the flowers as they wilt.  The edges of the petals curl and twist.

“Daisy In Blue”, One Such Bouquet. 

Switching subjects a little.  One of my favorite John Stermer floral paintings is “Daisy in Blue”.  He used acrylic paint in this particular piece, taking advantage of the paint’s quick drying time.

Complimentary Colors In Patches.

To explain, if you look at the “detail” image, you’ll see patches of blue and orange right next to each other, for example.  Blue and orange are opposites on the color wheel.  If blended together, they would make brown or gray.  

Floral Painting: Daisy In Blue; Detail

However, Dad chose not to blend the colors.  Instead he allowed one color patch of paint to dry before he laid the opposite on top or to the side.  By painting in this manner, the colors sort of sparkle next to each other.  And, they maintain their integrity, that is blue is still blue; orange is still orange.  

This process of putting color next to opposite color is called optical mixing.  Your eye “mixes” the colors together.  It was one of Dad’s favorite ways of applying color.  And, as I alluded to earlier, this is easier with acrylic because the paint dries faster than oil paint usually dries.

Special Recollections.

By the way, this particular floral painting has an additional special memory.  In 1980, Dad’s friends and colleagues Richard (Doc) Bove and Vincent Malta came out to visit and conduct painting workshops.  I remember discussing color and optical mixing with Doc Bove and he used “Daisies In Blue” as an example.  


So, in summary, the artist John Stermer liked to create floral paintings.  He particularly enjoyed painting flowers as they started to wilt since he found the curling edges interesting.  Plus, he liked to apply color in patches, taking advantage of “optical mixing”; or, put another way, the “sparkle” created by applying opposite colors next to each other.

Floral: Blue Daisy & Exhibition Postcard

PS.  Exhibition Postcard.

The floral painting “Daisy In Blue” was featured in the exhibition postcard for the fall 2017 “The Art of John Stermer, A Retrospective” at The Gallery ABQ.  I thought it looked particularly good!

Thank you!  


2 thoughts on “Floral Painting, Optical Mixing &”Daisy In Blue” In Particular”

  1. Dorothy Stermer

    Wonderful post, Peggy – thank you! I so much appreciate that you share your memories of Dad’s techniques, intentions, and friends. It makes the painting all the more interesting!

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