A lot of comments are made by artists about painting flowers. Flowers are an attractive subject, but also one of the most difficult for a painter. Why? One reason is in the translation of the subject matter into a painting. Often the intention at the beginning of the painting turns into something very different as the process goes on. The attraction may be the variety of color, the “prettiness” of the subject, maybe the challenge of so much detail of every leaf and petal. There are so many ways to approach an arrangement of flowers.
Personally, I like to discard the want of a pretty picture by ignoring all the colors and petals as the basis, and instead going for the mood of the arrangement. For instance, the quiet nature of the arrangement as a whole is easier to grasp and therefore grab onto for interpretation into a painting. The overall shape directs my eye to one part perhaps, where a petal is falling off, which gives me a sense of an offering the flower has. The light might be illuminating one particular part which may set the sentimental tone the painting should therefore communicate, whether somber, introspective or joyous. Working in large masses of general tonality and color first, then “pulling” out the petals with little detail works best for me. The intention I typically have for painting flowers is allow the strokes to impart the suggestion of the flowers so as to not overpower their soft and delicate aspects.
This little study was done outdoors on an unseasonably warm day with just two colors and two neutrals. I hope to do more of these.
Interior scenes are sometimes tricky. Backlighting or bounced light can make reading form and color a great challenge. Also, some interiors are full of objects and nick-naks, therefore forcing one to make choices about what to select or omit. Then, there’s the logistics of painting in the living room, which may be a “bull in the china shop” type of set-up. However, when all of this comes together, some really nice things can come about. I hope this painting is one.
This was a spontaneous set up one Sunday afternoon. There was no plan to do this at the time and I simply worked with what I had. It shows the figure from the shoulders up, as was intended given the size of the board available which is nine inches by twelve inches. Roz is shown immersed in a book she was reading at the time. She agreed to let me do some studies of her, so long as she could rest and read. So, I laid down a sheet, set up my small easel, put out three colors on my palette with a white and in almost an hour I had this painting worked to the point shown here.
On the northeast edge of Orange County, CA is a town called Brea. Many years ago it was known mostly for the oil business around the area and a small pioneer town once called Olinda. Some of the oil fields are still there, nestled in Carbon Canyon. Part of the canyon is a regional park where many people now hike and ride their horses.
This painting was done at the very east end of the park where the trails drop down to a loop around a small hill. The fenced in area is now a native plant garden. Like many places in Orange County, the setting sun provides a particular golden glow that has been captured by many artists and photographers. This is a beautiful area during certain times of the day and is full of history.
Part of the richness of California History can still be experienced at any of the several Ranchos and Adobes that are still maintained throughout the State. Here at Rancho los Cerritos (in Long Beach), and as part of the Arts Council of Long Beach, the Calico Band performed under the giant fig tree that still stands for about a century.
They are fantastic musicians and song writers, inspired by the lore and history of the area, producing a western style bluegrass / folk music sound with a few rock-a-billy under currents.
I painted them while they were performing. Afterword, the band really took an interest and a small crowd gathered to have a look. It was a wonderful evening, being there and listening to the group. Please take a moment to visit their website (https://www.calicotheband.com) and go see them live if you can. They perform nationally and even internationally! They super nice people, too.