Another go at the tulips. Greens are always tricky so I calmed them down quite a bit on this one.
Somehow this one got away from me. All went well until I tried to beef up the background to make the flowers pop and it lost something. Lots I like in here though - the lushness of the foliage and the delicate yellows of the flowers. And especially that wonderful blue on the vase.
This was intended for a show and I think I’ll have to give it another shot. Many thanks to Elizabeth Leake for her kind permission to use her photo.
Some intermediates :
After something clicking with the irises last week I thought I’d try my old nemesis - sunflowers. All that yellow can be overwhelming and it’s really hard to get the petals without them looking extremely rigid. In this case I think the balance between definition and looseness is just about right. One for the win column.
With flowers I sense that if I could reliably paint them successfully I would discover something fundamental about painting. This is why I come back time and time again. Sometimes I see a flicker of hope and sometimes, like today, it’s frustrating defeat. Each time I think I’m on the brink of success but it still often eludes me.
On the bright side there is a lot to like here. Just not enough.
Another try at the tulips although the last version grew on me a lot. Started very differently here with the paper completely wet and and then blocked in the flowers and the leaves and let the colors mingle. After that had mostly dried I went back to sharpen up some of the edges. It definitely hangs together much better.
I added in the dark background at the end just to see and I think it works.
This is the fourth small flower painting and probably the last for a while. Definitely a good way to make the best use of a 9.99 bunch of flowers!
All of these have been surprisingly challenging. The close crop on the flowers strips away some of the usual things I would use to define the shapes. There are no framing leaves or vase or overall flower shape to tell your brain 'this is a bunch of flowers'. This means you have to be more precise defining your shapes within each flower. As I like to paint fairly loosely this precision has to be offset by carefully choosing which edges to lose or soften. Combined with the small format every brushstroke counts and it shows if things go wrong.
Having said that I think they've come out pretty well. They look lovely together as a set and are a welcome punch of color when all is cold and wintry outside.
They look pretty fab to me. If they don't sell in the next couple of weeks the next time I get to Ikea I'll pick up some smaller frames. There's a space on my office wall that could do with some color. (This is usually the cue for orders to come in. That space on my office wall has been vacant for a while).
5"x7"/8"x10" matted. Second picture shows painting as part of a set of 4
Third time out with the small format flowers. Sunflowers are great fun! Very happy with this one. I'm slowly learning that with flowers it's the darks that make them flower like. Little spots and lines of dark are what make them come alive. It's very tempting to spend a lot of time on the petals but you don't want to fill them up with too much color as you lose the contrast.
Happy with this one - it has the right combination of looseness and definition.
Take 2 of the small flower paintings. This one took even longer than the first. This small format is much trickier than I'd imagined.
There's a phrase 'It never gets easier, you just get better'. This definitely applies to painting and, after a week's break, I'm not convinced about the better. This is a small 5x7 which is much smaller than I'm used to and you'd think would be easier. However smaller has it's own challenges. Less room for mistakes for one. Each mark *really* has to count and stands out if it doesn't.
It was interesting doing the close crop and filling in the whole space for once. I'm keen on leaving quite a lot of white space around subjects so this was a departure. It was quite liberating. The background became more abstract (even though it's obviously stalks and leaves and things) and provided a contrast to bring the flowers into relief.
So as usual it was a struggle but a worthwhile struggle. I like this very much and will likely do some more.