Thursday, March 8, 2012

"Cherry Blossom Festival at Tidal Basin" (oil on linen; 14" x 11") sold

"Cherry Blossom Festival at Tidal Basin"

"Cherry Blossoms Cascading"
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I succumbed to the crass commercialism and painted "Cherry Blossom Festival at Tidal Basin" to make some money off tourists who will be pouring to Washington, DC to see the National Cherry Blossom Festival later this month.  Do you know that this year marks the 100th anniversary of the planting of over 3.000 cherry trees, which arrived here as a goodwill gesture from the people of Japan?  The majority of the trees were planted around the Tidal Basin; that is what you see in my painting.

In defence of my commercialism, I want to emphasize that it is not easy to paint cherry blossoms.  They are so flurry, dainty, and pretty that it is easy to end up with the saccharine-sweet pink fest of paint blobs.  Believe me.  I've tried to paint them many times.  "Cascading Cherry Blossoms" was painted last spring with the help of a former teacher of mine, Diane Tesler.  This weeping cherry caught my eye last year during the festival.  Here the subject is not the landscape around the Tidal Basin, but the cascading "waterfall" of pink flowers against the crisp blue sky.

Bobbi Pratte, another teacher, insists that one should never paint cherry blossoms too light.  Bobbi is absolutely right.  Just before "Cherry Blossom Festival," I worked on another painting of the same theme, featuring the Jefferson Memorial.  As much as I hated quitting, I had to give up on it, for it was a vulgar pink thing. 

In "Cherry Blossom Festival at Tidal Basin," with the Washington Monument as the focal point, I made sure that the backlit, overhanging branches with cherry florets were dark and warm enough.  Why warm?  It was an overcast day with cool blues of the sky dominating, although there was sun, so that the shadows were warm-toned.  This is definitely a feminine painting; but I hope it has an artistic merit.  What do you think?

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