For the Love of Flowers

by Pamela Hamilton

Seven Pastel Paintings and the Inspiration Behind Them

1. “Beauty Becomes Me”

Pamela Hamilton, “Beauty Becomes Me,” pastel on paper, 12 x 16 in.

I’ve been a hobbyist gardener since I was 15 years old when I asked my parents if I could have my own flower bed. Prior to launching my art career, I poured my creativity into gardening. The coneflowers (echinacea) in this painting grow at the rear of my yard.

When titling my pastel paintings, I often do an Internet search to find the symbolism of certain flowers. These gorgeous flowers are not only beautiful but beneficial when taken internally, therefore “beauty becomes us.”

2. “Apples and Sunflowers”

Pamela Hamilton, “Apples and Sunflowers,” pastel on paper, 12 x 24 in.

The inspiration for this painting was simple. I walked into Trader Joe’s and the first thing I spotted was magnificent sunflowers. Since I’d been wanting to build on my love of painting both still life and flowers, the apples just seemed like the natural pairing. I set up the still life on my kitchen table near a sunny window and incorporated my husband’s blue shirt and a tomato vine from my vegetable garden. This is one of my favorite still life paintings.

3. “Tulips on Fargo”

Pamela Hamilton, “Tulips on Fargo,” pastel on paper, 16 x 12 in.

Coined “The Flowers on Fargo,” this field of tulips is a local sensation. Each spring, thousands of spring bulbs burst into a quarter-acre of brilliant color. The homeowner states that he planted 5,000 to 6,000 bulbs each year over the course of 10 years. I took dozens of photos one April which is what I used as a reference. I made a free video of my pastel painting process available on my YouTube channel.

4. “Poppies”

Pamela Hamilton, “Poppies,” pastel on paper, 16 x 20 in.

My daughter had sent me a bouquet of poppies as a thank-you for helping care for her dogs while away on business. The flowers arrived beautifully packaged with buds still closed and a vase in which to place them. Each day I watched one glorious bloom after another open into magnificent color. I took a series of photos near different windows in my house until I captured the ideal light source. Using that reference, I painted them on navy blue paper, which created a vibrant glow and texture.

5. “Spring Blooms and Lemons”

Pamela Hamilton, “Spring Blooms and Lemons,” pastel on paper, 20 x 16 in.

As a hobbyist gardener and nature lover, after a long winter, I’m anxious for the spring flowers to emerge from the melting snow. Early dwarf daffodils were among the first to bloom earlier this spring. I set up a still life with twigs from my yard and a few artificial tulips and placed them in a vase I made in a pottery class years ago. I used the same blue shirt that I used in “Apples and Sunflowers” (above), adding the lemons for the perfect triad color scheme. Fiddling with the composition and lighting took longer than the painting itself.

6. “Peace and Joy”

Pamela Hamilton, “Peace and Joy,” pastel on paper, 12 x 12 in.

I’m sentimental and the holiday season is very nostalgic. While packing away my Christmas ornaments one January, I couldn’t help but notice how the little white dove ornament at the focal point of this painting seemed to nestle itself in almost a protective way amongst babies’ firsts and vintage pinks. That particular ornament was a gift from my grandmother the Christmas before she passed in the early 90s. It evoked sweet memories, making me feel as if she was still watching over me. I like the way the cardboard divider in the blue bin adds interest and color to the composition.

7. “Crimson Globes”

Pamela Hamilton, “Crimson Globes,” pastel on paper, 8 x 10 in.

I think fruits and vegetables are beautiful—and delicious! I purchased these heirloom radishes at the farmers’ market. I photographed them outdoors on a white plate. When placing the red objects on white dishware in the sun, the shadows became quite blue. Then green leaves provided the natural color complement to the red globe of the radish. I painted this piece in my booth at an art fair so the patrons would get a better understanding of the pastel medium.

Paint along with Pamela Hamilton and other top pastel artists from around the world during Pastel Live, September 18-20, 2024, with an Essential Techniques Day on September 17. Secure your spot at


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