Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Painting Peonies

We are still digging out from the big blizzard here, so I thought I'd continue writing about spring flowers to distract myself from the giant snow mountains that are all over the city.

My terrace after the blizzard



Back in June I started a still life with a big bouquet of peonies.  There is a seller in the Union Square Greenmarket that sells the most beautiful peonies for the month of June and then they are gone.  The past few years I've been lucky enough to paint some of his bouquets.





After picking out my flowers I got to work blocking in the painting.  I had to work quickly as peonies can be very short lived.  Luckily, the flowers went in easily and I was able to finish them in about three days.



However, the rest of the painting was a different story.  I worked on the painting and it seemed to be going well, but when I thought it was finished, I was not completely satisfied.


Starting to add the pattern



The shot above is where I ended last summer.  I felt something was not quite right, but I did not know what it was, so I decided to let the painting sit for awhile.  I've done that before and the solution usually comes to me.

A few months later I finally figured it out.  The vase was too flat.  It was not looking as round as it should be, so I knew that it needed to be repainted.  I also decided that the background needed another coat of gray.


As you can see here, I really pumped up the shadow on the right.  That helped so much with the vase appearing to be round.  I also re- did the blue pattern and made an important change to the blue band around the top of the vase.  Instead of making the pattern all the same, I made the pattern shrink as it went to the sides of the vase.  These changes took away the feeling of flatness that was holding the painting back from being finished.



This is the finished painting.  I'm very happy with it now.  I often have this situation with flowers.  They go right in and the rest of the painting takes months, but it's fine if it happens that way.  As long as I was able to paint the beautiful peonies right away,  I don't mind waiting on the rest.

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