Friday, June 17, 2011

"Pink, Orange, and Midnight Blue" (oil on linen, 12" x 12") sold


This is the last plein air painting of the week.  No, I did not paint it at night.  The title has something to do with the dark purple blue background I chose at a whim.  I went back to Bon Air Memorial Rose Garden in Arlington by myself early Wednesday morning and wandered around for almost half an hour.  I just couldn't make up my mind.  Do I paint a beautiful wooden arbor and challenge myself with drawing?  A single rose?  Red roses?  A rose trellis?  I sat on every chair and bench at the park to try out different views.

Eventually I sat down to paint these pink/orange roses, pretty much out of exhaustion.  Some days are like that--an attack of indecisiveness.  An hour into the painting, I began to regret my choice.  The flowers slowly changed their forms before my eyes as the sun got higher!  Instead of panicking, I decided to relax and just enjoy the beautiful weather.  If the painting didn't turn out well, what did it matter?  Unlike the day before, bees, not a snake, kept me company.  Occasionally, park visitors stopped by to take a picture of me and roses.  I spent three lovely hours in the midst of roses.

When I came home, I printed out the photo of my models and worked on the problem areas right away since the paint was still wet.  I doubt that I will go back to the rose garden soon, but I learned much that day about shadows on roses.  With warm light, such as the sun, the shadows are generally cool; wtih cool light like the light from a north-facing window, shadows are warm; this rule, however, doesn't apply to roses because their petals are translucent.  Do you know what?  Some shadows were cool!  I read art books religiously, but nothing beats practice.  Painting from life in natural light for three consecutive days was a great gift to myself.

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