Peonies Still Life – First and Last

Before going on to my next still life effort (which has tulips and some tropical flowers) I felt if I didn’t work a little more on the peonies that they would languish unattended for a long time. So naturally decided to share and get input.  I posted a couple onto my Alamy stock site, which though unproductive so far still puts some work out there. The two selections here are from different ends of the spectrum as far as shooting order is concerned. The first you can see the peonies aren’t opened up very much and are placed in my favourite pewter vase with a sea shell motif and a slender glass insert for water. The arrangement is intended to look elegant and simple. The background was the black felt again but I added a little texture and light to the background for depth and interest and looks somewhat velvety I thought.

The second image below shows the flowers in much fuller bloom and were taken the day after the image above. I thought the difference was dramatic as I watched the flowers change from hour to hour. Peonies really do get very fluffy. This image is an all out oil paint filter experiment as I thought the peony petals lent themselves well for such a soft treatment. I thought the effect could use a little more punch and so used another Photoshop filter, once called craquelure which accented the painterly edges and lit them up a bit and was consistent with the painterly objective. I find that craquelure is an interesting filter that rarely gets utilized but can be a great companion to some other paint effects. I think the softness of the peonies and delicate color would work nicely on a high key treatment too. Another day another lesson!


Forgive any redundancy with the peonies but wanted to share them anyhow!!

I may have mentioned that I purchased the peonies from Whole Foods and that I was told they came all the way from Israel.



~ by Judy on August 7, 2017.

12 Responses to “Peonies Still Life – First and Last”

  1. Judy, Nice compilation. Thanks for sharing your images and thoughts. Gearing up to try some floral still life images since flowers are abundant and inexpensive here in Ecuador.

    • I really think you will enjoy it. Flowers are so beautiful and colorful to look at so it is all a pleasure. If you have your background and lighting situated then you can just concentrating on arrange your flowers and found objects. I find it kind of fun to use various knick knacks around the house this way.

  2. Beautiful Judy – it is a dramatic change from one to the other. The first seems elegant and aloof, the second one is opulent!

    • Great descriptors you offer!! I was thinking elegant and voluptuous!! LOL!! Those flowers just kept getting prettier and prettier and I liked them from the get go. It was fun to try and be deliberate with the shooting and get a kind of look that was wanted. Then after all that I still find myself wanting to do things to backgrounds in Photoshop.

  3. That final image is my favorite. There’s something about it that’s especially lush and luxurious — even extravagant. There are so many things that contribute to the special feel: the bud; the combination of colors; the exceptionally interesting greenery. I’ve really enjoyed this series — and how interesting that the peonies came from Israel. I think there surely are peonies blooming in the midwest, but of course you and I don’t have garden peonies to pluck!

    • I have thought it might be a good idea to start a garden and grow a few things to photograph and enjoy. But, my little experience with some orchids, which by the way need little attention, I still manage to be less than perfect with and the bugs want to nibble on them. So I think Whole Foods peonies are what I will need to do again when the opportunity comes up. Flower departments can be very unpredictable on what comes in and from where.

      I am truly glad you enjoyed the full blown flower arrangement of peonies. I actually did think of you with that one when I cropped off the tops of those dried twigs for more balanced and closer view. LOL!! See I listen!!

  4. Absolutely exquisite! Best, Babsje

  5. Those peonies didn’t know how good they looked until they came into your hands!

  6. So pretty Judy they almost look like tissue paper, soft and fragile.

  7. Lovely, lovely still lifes, Judy!! Peonies are my favourite flowers and this looks absolutely stunning. Well done.

    • Funny I had always like peonies…from pictures!! These are the first I ever had the chance to purchase. And at a grocery store called Whole Foods for heaven’s sake!! LOL!! So glad you love them and I haven’t seen any more to buy and photograph since. Interesting how much they open up isn’t it!! I do thank you for the encouragement so much!!

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