I drew and redrew the same image of flowers from a photograph. None of them quite looked like the flowers. But the image was mesmerizing and the chaos drawings that arose were … something … I don’t know what they were.
This is one of them above.
Now, oddly enough, it’s also one of many studies for a Flower Wall painting I made that was exhibited this summer.
The passage down at the very bottom of the painting, to the left of the butterfly, is how it appeared in the painting itself. I made lots of drawings of the image. Not sure how many. No doubt — some time or other — I’ll make others — or will draw something like it.
Here’s how Flower Wall looked in the exhibit. It measures 48 x 48 inches.
And the theme of the butterfly crossed into the large Butterfly Emblem. Not planned. It’s just the way of butterflies — they flit from one place to another.
I am redrawing things that are in the painting, reconnecting myself with individual parts of the motif to get myself ready to continue working on it, stitching the parts more securely together — or preparing to do so — since the real discoveries will happen on the painting’s own surface. These are just ideas.
So I redrew the roses and then added the top of the clump of hydrangeas below these roses, just to help myself think about some ways that these two parts might connect. These are the hydrangeas that I drew in the previous post. The drawing measures 14 x 11 inches and depicts the flowers actual size.
Here’s the whole painting in its present form:
The roses and the hydrangeas are located in the top left hand side.
To get back into the thought world of the flower wall painting, I’ve decided to make studies of various sections of it. Here’s a study for the clump of hydrangea flowers made using Neopastel (Caran d’Ache) on a sheet from a 14 x 17 Strathmore 400 series pad.
Here’s the whole painting as it looks at present.
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.
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.
Here’s the small painting for which the previous painting is a study. This one measures 18 x 24 inches. The study rehearses the white flower below the daisy.
The painting already looks significantly different from this photo above. I am making textured adjustments to all the sections of the picture. And some of the flowers will be better defined also.
I’m working on a small flower painting today and have used this even smaller study above (8 x 10 inches) to rehearse approaches to the central section of the main painting.
The painting is textured and the study is also. I love the freedom of acrylic paint for texture. You can pile a lot of paint on the surface and paint right over it again in a fairly short period of time.
Some of this approach I want to translate later into oil. But in oil the strategy will need to be a little different.
I have been painting a lot lately so much that I haven’t had time to blog about it. And nearly all of the paintings depict flowers. The painting above measures 30 x 40 inches. After having painted so many flowers in vases on tables, I wanted to do something amorphous. The theme of amorphous arrangements is one that I’m just beginning to explore, and there will be others besides the one above. Indeed there’s an even larger painting in the works.
I still paint the flowers on table tops, of course, and one of the recent pictures is a traditional still life because I love the flat receding plane of the table top with its still life theatre.
Long time readers know that I like to paint pictures of koi swimming and this still life has a fish component, so that was fun. The painting above measures 16 x 20 inch inches so it’s small, but it’s got attitude. And what’s particularly new about these paintings is that I painted them using acrylic paint which I haven’t used in a long time. I have had such a blast using this fast drying paint. Each kind of artist material has its own peculiar charms and I like to range among the opportunities. I think particularly now that using acrylic paint is going to teach me things that I can afterwards apply profitably in oil painting.
The fish pattern paper featured in the second painting comes from a wonderful store in Old Town Alexandria called The Paper Source. It will be fun showing the store’s staff what I did with the beautiful deep blue paper I bought there — the first of the paper’s soon-to-be frequent appearances in my art.
My flower mélange is partly inspired by the store window of Caruso’s Florist at 17th and M Streets in Washington Dc where there’s a dramatic window display. I was walking in the evening in mid-September, strolling around the block a couple times because I was early for a meeting. That’s when I came upon Caruso’s store window. It was one of those great felicitous accidents of happening upon something that you had been hoping to find! When I returned to the store the next day with my camera, the store’s owner greeted me. He is just about the nicest guy you’re likely to ever meet. So, if you visit Washington DC and want to meet somebody delightful, make a straight path for Caruso’s Florist.
I have a lot of project ideas right now. Some of them are underway, others are just buzzing about in my brain. It’s been a very exciting time of full days.
In other news if you received one of the cards with a reproduction of my paintings and are a new visitor to the blog, welcome. Hope you find many things to enjoy.