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.
As a corollary to the previous post on autumn, here’s one of spring with its clamouring surge. It started in some watercolour doodlings I posted a week ago and I liked the pose of the lower daffodil so thought I would do a quarter imperial painting and see how it came out – though I prefer my first version of the bottom daffodil – always a peril when repainting a subject. I have tackled this approach a long time ago, though it didn’t turn out as punchy as this one.
Looking at it as I write, the mass of blooms at the top remind me of a flock of hungry seagulls scrapping over scattered bread. OK, in my world seagulls can come in yellow.
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 did these a few days ago when the lockdown was still tight on and the sun came out. This time I ventured off the decking and into the wilds of the garden.
and another one, looking back to the decking and the house.
With the weather set for an upturn this week I will try and venture from out the garden and into the countryside where I will hopefully find something more interesting than last time. Ill post the results whatever the outcome.
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 bought some daffodils for the house and later, whilst cleaning, stood the vase on a worktop in front of a window and thought that it might make an uplifting painting.
I decided to crop the flowers to give the feeling of them bursting out and filling the frame. As usual I had a tussle with shading the yellows and I had hoped to get petal shapes in the background by creating some negative shapes, well, I tried, but I did manage to get a little movement there that, I think, adds to the energy.
For me there is nothing more symbolic of spring than the voluptuous forms of hyacinths that fill the space with their bursting form and fill the air with a penetrating scent.
I thought that I would do the group that sat on our window sill in close up. Half way through I was beginning to wonder why I had bothered, with the churning and twisting of forms making life very complicated. In the end I am quite pleased with the outcome and the presence imposed by the tight mass of flowers.
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.