I have painted poppies before, and some might say too often, but spotting the setting sun on the oriental poppies in my garden drove me to having another go. It was only towards the end of the painting that I realised that the stars of the show aren’t the gaudy flowers but the tousled mass of spikey leaves that snatch the attention away from the flowerheads.
In the past I have been taken by the sculptural forms of leaves in strong light but have felt that they wouln’t make a good painting – clearly I must take another look.
Climbing a hill, last year, I saw this ragged clump of thistles about to shed their seeds over the fields. I love the way the thistle down glows in the sunlight and this is enhanced against the darkness of the distant trees.
A birthday card for someone special. Painting cards for family and friends can be like making a rod for you own back. When one is seen you get oblique and blatant requests for more – even my daughter complained about being left out and she doesnt even like the stuff I produce – funny old world. These days I am not doing as many, so there is less pressure. This one is of the begonias currently flowering on my decking.
I presented this as a sketch in April and the sketch has been floating around in my studio since then. As an inveterate fiddler it was only time before I had another go. I wanted to break up and explain the background better and pay more attention to the reflected light and give more deference to my wife`s flower arranging. At least this time its not on the back of another painting , which for me, is a step forward.
I have been lethargic of late and this was an attempt to break the cycle. I wanted to do a loose painting of a jugful of flowers my wife had gathered from the garden.
It started loose but became tighter as I played around with the lights and shadows. I think this approach works well with large blooms such as the camellias, but the daisies and other small flowers broke the rhythm and had me scratching around and tightening up.
Having completed the exercise I can see where improvements in technique can be made. Now, I just need to break the lethargy…
So on with the second of my demonstration pieces for next week, which I mentioned in my previous blog. For this one the client wanted a floral painting so I selected this subject as I had already demonstrated it last year and it seemed to go well. It incorporates a big wash with a lot of colour mixing on the paper and good interplay of light and dark.
On my first attempt below I felt the arrangement of flowers was too tight and for the second one (top) I brought in some chromium yellow to the centre to help bring out the purple blues of the flowers.
So there is a lot apparently going on with a few washes and hopefully the interplay between light and dark sets a rhythm going.
I got the pastels out for the last blog and thought I could do with having a stock check. This entails doing a few paintings and seeing what hues and tones I am short of. I found a shop in Liverpool which sells Unison pastels. Normally I buy them over the internet, but it is far better making sure that you get the right ones by seeing them in the flesh and trying them out. So here’s a scene of thistle seed heads in the sun. I was sat waiting for someone on a park bench this autumn when the sun came out and I was caught by the brightness of the seed heads and the way they seemed to glow against the shadows. So I snapped a few photos and here we are and I’ve got my list for a shopping trip.
A late entry to my upcoming solo exhibition of flower paintings. I have assembled 16 paintings to show at my framers next week. So I am spending time getting things ready, at the expense of painting.
I must admit to getting a bit down after putting work in a couple of mixed exhibitions of late and selling nothing, but last week I entered another and went to collect my work to find that I had sold three. One of life’s small victories which puts a spring back in your step. So I’m entering this one a bit more optimistically – but only a little bit.
Another trial painting. Checking out what I can demonstrate. It certainly wont be this. Too much overpainting to get the darks. I have trimmed the painting above. It certainly needs more flower and less background and those Californian poppy leaves are a bugger to do – though I do love the contrasts from the white page to the deep mixes of indigo and the poppy petals create lovely swirls of colour. I’ll be back with another go at this.
Spring slowly moves towards summer and my rhododendrons’ buds start to unfold into blousy blooms. I tried this before, last week, but over-emphasised the colours and deadened the image. This version looks a bit weak, but the freshness is retained and the lefthand bloom captures the attention to my satisfaction.