Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Peonies Update

Hi Everybody.  I hope everyone is having a great holiday season.  I've been painting away and I recently finished one of my "updates."

I cannot find the photo of the original painting, but it was pretty much what you see here.  There was one more orange on top of the bowl of oranges and a not very well painted peony laying in front of the vase.

I painted this many years ago.  A friend brought these peonies from her garden for us to paint.  I always liked the flowers, but was never happy with the rest of the painting.  It was the best I could do at the time, but when I recently pulled it out I knew I could make it so much better.

As you can see above, I started by fixing the dimensions of the vase.  It was not quite perfect so I took out the old T-square and worked on the vase until I was happy with the shape.  Next I repainted the background.  It wasn't horrible, but a few more coats of paint definitely made it look a lot richer.  I also got rid of the bowl of oranges and the peony that was lying in front of the vase.

Next up, I painted out the pattern on the vase.  It took a few tries before I was happy with the color of the whites and the shadow, but that is the great thing about oil paint.  If you are not happy with something you can just paint right over it.

I also pumped up the color on the flowers by making the darks darker and the lights lighter.

After all of that was done, it was time to put in the pattern on the vase.  This was going to be tricky as the vase does not belong to me.  My plan was to fake it by using a pattern from one of my vases and hoping for the best, but then I got very lucky.  I was looking for something in a cabinet at the Art Students League and I was stunned to see the vase sitting right there!  I brought the canvas in there, painted in the pattern and brought it right back to my studio.  I was thrilled to be able to use the original vase and it looks so much better now than when I originally painted it.

At this point, I needed to do something about the rest of the painting.  I considered re-doing the bowl of oranges, but I was never thrilled with that in the first place, so I decided to do something completely different.  A friend gave me a pretty compote and I thought that would go nicely with the vase.  I added some red grapes as I thought they went well with the flowers.

I added a few more oranges and decided to change the grey shelf to the color of the brown one in my studio.  While I was doing that I changed the shape of the white cloth as well.

This is the finished painting.  It took about six years total, but I'm so happy with it now.

And just in case you were thinking that painting is a glamorous way to spend your time, this is just part of the mess that had to be cleaned up on that last painting day!

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