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With this peony painting, I did something unusual and crazy. After finishing the painting, I decided not to leave the background pure white. I first tried several vertical stripes of dark colors, which made the background come forward. Oops. How about dark squiggly lines in oil pastel over those random stripes? Then, I spritzed water where the flowers met the background to soften the edges. It was a complete mess! Finally, I strengthened the now fuzzy-looking bouquet with white gouache and dark paints. I think the result looks rather dramatic and contemporary. What do you think?