Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"Pink Trumpet Daffodils" (oil on linen; 12" x 9") sold


Reference photo

The same kind of daffodils growing in my garden

Aren't these daffodils with pink trumpets lovely?   The reference picture was taken at Green Spring Gardens Park last Thursday, because I liked the composition, not because I didn't have them at home.  Indeed, they are blooming in my front and back yards in several different spots.  The composition, not the subject matter, is everything in a painting, my friends.

Do you know what?  I am onto something.  Without realizing, I have started a new series of garden flowers, painted from photographs.  Last year, in my enthusiasm for plein-air painting, I painted irises, peonies, roses, etc. on location with mixed results.  But I learned that, as long as I know how to compensate for the shortcomings of photography, it is so much easier to paint flowers from photos. 

These small paintings, requiring careful drawing, take hours to finish.  They are essentially still lifes, or portraits of flowers, under natural light.  However, I no longer have to worry about the moving sun, bugs, winds, heat, and an uninvited audience.  If I get tired, I can take a break or finish the painting the following day.

What the launch of the new series means is that I will never run out of painting subjects for months!  Furthermore, I get to go out to gardens and parks on a beautiful day.  I may bring my painting gear and paint landscapes en plein air.  But I won't be sweating over one or two flowers; instead, I will saunter to take pictures of flowers of different species.  Spring is already here in northern Virginia.  Cherries at the Tidal Basin are in full bloom, one week ahead of the original official forecast.  I'd better grab my camera and go over to a park.

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