Sunday, April 12, 2015

Are Those Pussy Willows?

Yes, I painted a bunch of pussy willows.  But before I continue on with the post, we have to pay homage to the queen of pussy willows, Mrs. Beverly Sutphin .  If you have seen Serial Mom, you cannot even look at pussy willows without thinking of her.

"Are those pussy willows?"
"Dried ones.  Aren't they pretty?"
"What did you just say?"
"Pussy willows, Dottie!"

Is there anybody who can say "pussy willows" like Kathleen Turner?  I think not!

Anyway, back at the beginning of March, I stopped into Whole Foods to stock up for yet another snow storm and they had beautiful bunches of pussy willows right in the front of the store.  I decided that I would finally paint them this year, but I also knew that I would not be able to work around the delicate buds while doing the background of the painting.  I decided to break a few painting rules and lay in most of the painting and then add the flowers later.

I decided to put the flowers in a ginger jar, so I started by loosely blocking in the fabrics and the jar, then started layering in the background.  This process took quite some time as we had a month of snowstorms, rain, fog and humidity here in New York.  After painting over this everyday for 6 days, I finally let it sit for a week so it could completely dry.  I was then able to put the final coats on the background and let that dry so the flowers would go on easily.

The other delay in this project was the ginger jar.  I love my ginger jar, but getting the shape right is no easy task.  I don't know how many times I repainted it, but I'm going to estimate is was about ten to fifteen times.  I just can't move on in a painting if something is off so I kept at it until it was right.

Finally in desperation I turned the canvas upside down, got out the T square and spent one whole afternoon just working on the jar until it was right.

Now it was time for the fun part, the flowers!  I spotted these beauties at the farmers market and got to work.

I started by putting in the stems, then I blocked in the tiny buds.

I decided the painting needed a bit more than just the flowers, so I added some oranges and grapes.  I really liked this set up and at this point the painting came very easily.

Close up of the buds

Here is the finished painting.

Pussy Willows In A Ginger Jar, 18x24, oil

As I said on Instagram, I was thrilled to be painting a spring flower.  Now that New York City is no longer a frozen tundra, I'm looking forward to starting up with flower painting again.
Hope spring has finally sprung wherever you are!