Sunday, January 24, 2016

Painting Orchids And Hiding The Brushstrokes

Greetings, everyone!  I hope everybody survived the snowzilla.  Over here it was lots of cooking and Netflix/Prime.

I was looking through my photos and thought it would be nice to talk about a summer flower in the midst of twenty inches of snow :)  I began these orchids back in August and just finished the painting a few weeks ago.  From the start, this one did not go smoothly.




As you can see, the orchids were so big that they went way past my fabric background.  Also, I was not feeling my best when I started the painting, so that did not help matters.  However, I had been wanting to paint orchids for a long time, so I decided to just do it.


This is how I started.  It was just a basic block in that went fine, but i was having trouble coming up with a design I liked for the whole painting.




As you can see, I started with a green background and a white cloth under the planter.  I struggled through this entire process and that should have been a sign that this was not going to work, but it took me a little while to figure that out.

Eventually, I scrapped the entire thing.  One of the great things about Innerglow boards is that they have a front and back.  I simply turned the canvas around and started over.


I changed the background to gray and got rid of the white cloth.  I also put in the flowers rather than leaving them for later.


Luckily, the composition worked this time, but the rest of the painting was a total slog.  I had huge issues getting the background and the planter right.  Happily for me, the flowers went right in, so I had a reason to keep going.




As you can see in the photo above, the planter was still not right.  After having done it many times, I was really ready to throw in the towel when I happened upon an article by Matthew Weiner about his long struggle to bring Mad Men to the screen.  Hiding the brushstrokes is when artists or writers or musicians make it seem like they created their work with no missteps at all.  Weiner advocates talking about the rewrites and mistakes and do overs so that everyone who is struggling does not just give up or think they must be doing something wrong when a creation does not just come pouring out the first time.  This article could not have come at a better time for me.  It really gave me the push to keep going on this thing and finish it.  If Matthew Weiner struggles, I can too!



Things were finally coming together.  The shape of the pot was finally correct and I was getting happier with the background.



Unfortunately, I realized that I was breaking a serious rule with my shadows.  The shadows should follow the line of your object, not be all broken up like mine was.


I fixed the shadow and got to work on the blue pattern of the pot.  Unfortunately,  I lost count of how many times I had to repaint the blue pattern.  It just did not want to work.  I actually had to set the painting aside for a bit to let it completely dry and also just to take a break and work on something else.


This was one of my attempts.  Getting the diamond shaped pattern right was just not happening.  I painted this pot last summer and had no trouble at all.  You just never know how things are going to go.

One day I just went into the studio determined to get this thing done.  I got out my paint and just started doing the pattern.  I did not spend too much time thinking about it and this was the one time it finally worked out!


I'm so happy to have hung in there with this painting.  I'm very excited by how it turned out and so glad I kept going.  All creative people struggle but nobody likes to talk about it.  I hope this will start changing.  If something isn't going as you expected, keep at it or change it and start again.  Very few things come out perfectly the first time and there is nothing wrong with taking the time to get something exactly the way you want it!

h/t to Shauna for posting the Matthew Weiner article.

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