Painting the American Flag

The American flag has always held a warm space in my heart. I was taught to respect our nation’s flag and it is just a beautiful symbol of freedom to me. It reminds me of the Olympics. So, it is important that I get this painting right to show how lovely our flag looks in the wind.

walk away look

Looking at the tank last evening and while walking down to the tank this morning I have decided that the fold near the blue and stars just is not right.  I am not seeing the flowing movement that I want in the flag fabric. The stars are bugging me because they are not very consistent in size.

No worries though, because we can change anything we want as long as there is a paintbrush-in-hand. I will change the stars area into a slight wave in the fabric instead of the fold but, keep the actual fold on the right side red and white stripes. That should do it. To change this I need to move the blue part a little more to the left and widen the first white stripe into an easier bend. Adjustments, Adjustments, Adjustments.

star masking 2
star masking 2
star masking
star masking

The plan is to paint the white stars last. So, I mask off the new locations in more consistent in sizes. Masking allows a freedom to a freely paint the shadows and highlights of the flag fabric without worrying about messing up the stars. Applying masking tape strips to cover where the stars should be, then marking a star outline using a sharpie, followed by using an Exacto knife. Wa La!

revised layout
Revised layout

The real painting begins, making adjustments to the layout and mixing paints to get highlight where the flag reaches out. Paying close attention to where light and shadow should happen. Adding shadow where the flag tucks into a wave base or continues after a fold. The right side of the tank will have a red strip leading off into the back. I decide to add shadow around all the stars while the masking tape is still there, hoping to get a shadow effect to make them stand out.

stripes around end
stripes around end

Lastly I remove the masking tape covering where the stars are to be. Then carefully paint white in the stars and we are finished.

flag stars painted white
flag stars painted white

I am happy with this rendering of our American flag.

Author: artist

An artist with realistically surreal colorful style in the Inland Pacific Northwest, Valerie Woelk.

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