|"From Spring Garden" (oil, 12" x 12")|
I painted "From Spring Garden" last spring after having taken Robert A. Johnson's still life workshop, excited at the realization that I could paint floral still lifes in oil. I picked out three favorite spring flowers from my garden, challenging myself with some with florets--lilac and hyacinth. I did a few more still lifes, always tormented by the conflicted desire--shall I go outside to paint flowers on such a beautiful day or stay put in my studio to learn to set up and paint still lifes? The pleasure of companionship of fellow plein-air painters usually won out. By late fall, the pickings from my garden were slim. Japanese anemones were the best I could do; "White Japanese Anemone" was the result.
|"White Japanese Anemone" (oil, 12" x 10")|
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I love flowers with multiple tiny florets. Think lilac, cherry, hyacinth, hydrangea, etc. They are hard and intimidating to paint though. It is funny that I used the word "intimidating." How can anybody be intimidated by such small and lovely things? But I do. That is why I had printed out the reference photo for "Spring Bouquet" last spring, but never got around to paint from it. The familiar delay tactics, if you know what I mean.
Spring is just around the corner in northern Virginia, with the temperature in the 50's day after day in late January! I finally got inspired to paint "Spring Bouquet." The setup on the kitchen table in front of a large window was backlit by the natural light from outside. I got rid of the window panes and trees clearly visible in the picture, and painted the daffodil first. After taking a deep breath, I began to paint gesturally the floret of hyacinth one by one. It went surprisingly fast! Many initial rough-edged brushstrokes were left alone to suggest movement. After all, the hyacinths were alive and would have moved follwing light if I had painted them from life. I let the painting dry a little, then refined the flowers and wobbly stems in the vase. How about that! No reason to get stymied by flowers anymore.
I took a picture of snowdrops blooming in my garden yesterday. Do you think I will paint them soon, or sit on the picture for a year?