Blossoms and Tulips

I’ve been inside much of March and April working on larger Italian landscapes from sketches. I find this season difficult to paint well. In Florence, none of the plein air painters would work outside during these months. The acidic new greens, flowers, and blossoms are beautiful, but not necessarily picturesque. This happens often in painting. I’ve told the story in a previous post about watching dolphins jumping in sunset, and how it can be a wonderful experience, but under no circumstances should one attempt to paint dolphins jumping at sunset.

There aren’t many great blossom or tulip paintings for the same reason. Here are a few.

Claude Monet. Apple Trees in Bloom. 1873

Claude Monet. Trees in Bloom.

Claude Monet. A Field of Tulips with the Rijnsburg Windmill.

Claude Monet. Tulip Fields at Sassenheim.

(Wikipainting has an amazing online collection of Monet’s work. 1338 paintings in chronological order and in high resolution. Definitely worth a visit.)

Isaac Levitan. Spring in Italy, 1890.

George Inness. Spring Blossoms, Montclair, New Jersey

Jean-François Millet. Spring.

If anyone has any others feel free to post links. This was just from a quick perusal of Google images.


  1. Good post on a subject that a lot of outdoor painters should know and study.
    There are a few Peder Monsted spring paintings, one that’s a garden path in spring with some Irises and tulips as well as small dogs. I think he’s the only painter who could pull that off.
    There are a fair amount of his works on the ARC site, but you have log in now and pay to view.

    Willard Metcalf, very underrated painter in my view:

    Clyde Aspevig:

  2. anyone else see this pattern too in most metcalf’s paintings shared by Jeff—a zig-zag pattern in his landscape paintings? i think i see this pattern too in the paintings Marc shared. is this a common pattern in many landscape paintings?

  3. Daniel, do you mean his brush strokes? If so yes, he used a technique that some painters call ricing, being that the strokes look like pieces of rice.

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