I have to find more flowers for the bouquet. I go in search of pictorial flowers. I look for them in the pictorial gardens. And a lot of things are beginning to bloom now that spring is here — even pictorial things.
Under the bright pictorial sun, with my face toward the pictorial wind, I walk through the pictorial field to pick flowers that I can bring back to my still life.
Some passages of the painting have the sort of scattering that I like and want. In other sections, the proper texture eludes me. Still, when you find that you’ve got it in one place at least you know afterwards where it is that you want to go.
I have been using iridescent paints. Nonetheless, much of the brightness has to come from the apt use of white. I strive to learn the apt use of white.
Some years ago I began the painting in which this detail appears. Now I’m reworking it. But this detail is my favorite element, and I’m not touching it. Some of the bare canvas appears between lines. There’s clear acrylic so it’s not actually bare canvas, but it’s got the color and appearance of the untouched canvas.
I find it difficult to work on a large still life from the motif because you see all the parts from different angles as you move around. And the whole canvas is too large to see everything all at once. So although I did begin the painting all at once and very spontaneously — as I get into the weeds of it I have to sort out parts one by one.
My first couple attempts to get the notebook on the left in correct perspective on the table went awry — in the painting itself and in a drawing I made as a study. Happily a painted study is getting me closer to where I want to be. I propped it up against the painting in the photo above. I needed to see how this change would look in the actual painting.
After painting out two compotiers that had appeared on the right hand side, I used a study that I had made a couple months ago to form the new right hand side of the painting — and I propped that smaller painting up against the canvas to get an approximate notion how it would look.
So part by part, I’m gonna get there ….
I’ve been working on this picture for the last week. It’s a 30 x 40 inch acrylic painting of the old garden. And it’s almost finished. I seem to be going left to right so the whole vertical right side comes next.
Nonetheless it’s kind of a prototype for this motif because I have another version in mind too.
The first painted sketch I made for it was called “the little garden” so I guess the version above shall be considered “the big garden. Little Garden is here:
The large flower wall has been thoroughly blocked in, and now I have to bring the individual parts into greater clarity. At the same time I don’t want to spoil the element of abstraction, the aspect of the painting that suggests forms. I want to suggest more than to describe, though my natural way of thinking is descriptive.
I learning to look at the painting itself more to gain a sense of how to go forward. I waver between the pull of the motif and the needs of the picture to stand on its own.
I began this painting in the late autumn and as I switch from landscape to flowers I’m pulling things out of the bin for one more bit of tweaking. In many respects this painting is where I want it to be, but since flowers still hang suspended in the air, I suppose I should give it another level of completion.
But, you know, old Pa Cezanne did this sort of thing all the time and those of us who admire the old man have a tendency to follow his habits — perhaps even when we shouldn’t!
This acrylic painting measures 36 x 24 inches.
Soon, soon, soon, I’m going to resume work on this largish 48 x 48 canvas. I am chomping at the bit. And all the landscape painting that I’ve been doing in recent weeks is helping me think about these flowers.
I can’t wait.
This garden measures 34 x 28 inches. It’s more difficult to photograph properly than usual because the canvas itself is out of square slightly and then the camera adds its own curve distortion. But these photographs are ones I’m using for tracking. Later I will rephotograph all the paintings using a better camera.
Anyway, hopefully this painting makes sense of its reference drawing that I posted last week. The relationship between drawing and painting is much clearer now. The drawing was very abstract; this painting is still very abstract (and may remain so – I’m not sure), but things begin to emerge from the roiling curved forms. I am really pleased with the painting. Sometimes a picture will start to delight you as you are painting and this one went that way.
There’s a line near the top that runs the picture’s length horizontally. That marks the boundary that conforms to the reference photo I used. The picture is in the same ratio as the photograph inside that boundary. The bit of canvas above it is invention. I left the line up to this point so that I could more easily make drawing changes to the main part of the image. But I can cover the line up now because I know that none of the changes I’m likely to make going forward will profit by knowing where that boundary falls.
The preparatory drawing that I posted previously can be found here: