Tulip, Tulips and More Tulips! The Beauty of A Single Flower!

by Neadeen Masters on April 14, 2012

Painting Tulips – Know the History of this Beautiful Flower…

What is the first image you have when you hear the word Holland? We automatically think of the Tulip flower, correct? What is little known is that this radiant flower was first introduced to Europe in 1554 via Turkey and took Europe by storm during the seventeenth century. It has been a favorite amongst artists, gardeners and collectors since it became popular back then and offers us the widest variety through its many hundreds of species.  It is now available in over 4,000 varieties, a sure testament to its modern popularity.

Tulips have been found decorating ancient pottery since 2200 BC. However, not too much was mentioned in early writings about this flower. As an artist, if you love painting tulips, its always a good idea to learn a little about the history of your subject.

How to Paint Tulips: Acrylic Painting Techniques - Art Apprentice Online Painting Tulips – Tulip Trio DVD by Sharon Hamilton, MDA – Art Apprentice Online

The tulip is still the national flower of Turkey and is the first flower to be cultivated and grown for the single purpose of its beauty.  Until the sixteenth century, the land around personal dwellings was used for practical purposes only, to grow plants that produced food and used to feed animals.  This land was too valuable to grow something that could not contribute to human survival, for example to produce food or grow plants to be used for medicinal purposes. It is believed that the Ottoman rulers of Turkey were the first to begin cultivating the tulip for its simple beauty. Historians tell us that the Turks first traded these tulip bulbs from adventurers who were trading with the peoples of northern China, and countries like Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The Turkish Sultans held this flower in high esteem and celebrated many festivals with it. Tulips were grown by the millions, laid out in patterns and resembled the patterns typically found on carpets. In fact, the elaborate gardens of some Sultans actually looked like giant colorful carpets when they were in full bloom.  It is believed that the tulip made its way into Vienna in the sixteenth century, brought by the Austrian consul to Istanbul.  It then made its way through different parts of Europe and was eventually embraced by the Dutch painters of northern Europe. Thus began artist’s love affairs with the tulip flower!

Painting Tulips: Acrylic Painting Techniques - Art Apprentice Online Painting Tulips – Online Art Class with Donna Richards

Painting Tulips is a popular Painting Motif with artists from many Countries…

Paintings of tulips are still popular with artists from around the globe. The tulip motif is by far one of the most popular flowers embraced by artists of all skill levels even today. Here are two examples of the delicate and elegant flower painted by two teachers of the Art Apprentice Online Art School. Sharon Hamilton has created an in-depth tulip study using the painting technique of the Old Flemish Masters, known as the Flemish Technique. Sharon’s painting approach is an indirect method where the layering of transparent color is applied over the dead layers and underpainting.  Donna Richard’s approach is different yet just as effective. Donna has used a more direct approach as she paints and teaches this tulip painting using a wet-in-wet method in her online art class.

As long as we grow tulips, there will be tulip paintings and artists painting tulips will find ways to render this dramatic flower in many different and unique ways…


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