Flowers growing in the cloth

flowers in the cloth

I have a favorite still life cloth.  It has big flowers printed on it.  Has figured in several still lifes I’ve done over the years.  It’s one of my enduring obsessions.  One of those paintings has been restationed over my desk and I see the flowers everyday once more.  Makes me long for flowers.  A mass of flowers into which I could just lose myself drawing.  Flowers, flowers, flowers!


So, let’s think about this some more.  I had a still life set up of artificial flowers on a table, in a vase, sitting on a cloth that is decorated with flowers, and I made a painting of it, and the canvas is made of cloth — so it’s more flowers on a cloth.

I find myself stuck inside a very delightful feedback loop.  Some obsessions are definitely worth obsessing over, if I may say so myself….

Trace Elements


One reason for doing the separate compositional drawings of flowers is to discover how the elements exist in relation to each other. Later compare the drawings with the painting (since you cannot get back far enough from the painting to view both the painting and the still life at the same time).  There is a pearl-like highlight on the upper left cup-shaped flower.  I have to move left toward the still life to see it.  Remember this, and a similar highlight in the right hand rose on the drape.  Relate the two gleams to each other and to the gleams in the bowls.

I had a small studio, very cramped in a dark narrow room with a huge high ceiling. A magical ancient room.   Large window at one end.  Everything was turned toward that window for the sake of its light.

Long ago I yearned to record the nuances of relationships between the separate flowers — what would have been an…

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Wide open spaces

landscape from c 1996

When the sky touches the land at some distant point ahead that you see afar off, then you know you have space enough to dream.

There’s so many ways to move through a landscape: through the air or on the ground, taking the path that goes under the tall deep green trees, or along that horizontal plain that escapes like an arrow to some unknown locale just beyond the range of vision. What lies over the hills of a dream? Where does the light lead? How green is the greenest green of life?

And what about the ball of light inside the clouds?

value of sunlight

detail other

Fans of the great 20th century painter Pierre Bonnard know that in his pocket diaries he kept cryptic notes about the weather:  beau, nuageux frais, pluie, beau nuageux, beau brumeux [fair, cloudy cool, rain, fair cloudy, fair foggy].  Besides having concise meteorological value as one man’s document of late 20th century weather in various regions of France, they suddenly have come to have personal meaning for me.

Bonnard diary

It’s as though the clouds have parted and I suddenly see their meaning.

Or, it’s like the clouds suddenly parted — the day before yesterday — and I suddenly saw my drawing.  (The clouds have since closed the curtain again.)  I have been working indoors, often late at night, for such a long succession of days and haven’t seen the full daylight colors of the pigments in so long that I had half forgotten what they were.  So, the other day when the clouds parted and direct sunlight fell upon my drawing for a few hours, I was astonished and delighted beyond measure.  And I can’t tell you how marvelous it was to be able to see the rich colors of my crayons after having worked in dim light for days on end.

Now, I realize perhaps some of the reason why Bonnard recorded the weather … for the weather outside the studio determines the light that will come into the studio windows!  And you know that an artist like Bonnard, who more than most people had such a fine appreciation for a window, would know that.