Thursday, May 25, 2017

Blue And White Hydrangeas

I finished up two new paintings yesterday.  Since we are having our usual cold, dreary, rainy weather here in New York, I'll talk about the floral painting first.  I started these hydrangeas back in March, so this one took a bit of time, but it was worth it to get it just right.

I actually started out by just putting in the vase, shelf and background.  At this point, I was not even sure what sort of flowers I would be painting.  I just wanted to get things going so that when I did find the flowers I wanted to use, I would be ready to go.  At this point, the weirdest thing happened.  A few people (unsolicited) told me that I should just keep the painting as is!  I could never imagine doing so.  I'm not a minimalist, especially in painting.  I want the whole canvas covered and I want color on the canvas.  So when I happened into Whole Foods and saw this big bouquet of hydrangeas, I was excited to put them in the painting.

I simply outlined the placement of the flowers and the leaves, and then got to work filling it all in.

This is where I left off the first day.  After that, it was just a matter of layering on paint until the hydrangeas looked the way I wanted them to.  I also ended up darkening all of the leaves.  As I got further into the painting, I realized the leaves were competing with the flowers so I made them less prominent.

At this point, I put some debris on the shelf and thought I was done except for the pattern on the vase, but it was not to be.  After contemplating the painting for a few days, I decided it needed something more on the shelf, so I took one stem (from a new bouquet) and painted it in.

As you can see above, I also painted in the blue pattern on the vase.  That went on quite easily, but I was still having aggravation with the shelf.  I just couldn't get it to look the way I wanted it to.

This is where I left off the first time.  I thought the painting was done and I signed it and posted to Instagram.  However, there was still something nagging at me.  My original vision for this painting was flowers "exploding" out of the vase and even though I liked what I had done, the painting did not feel finished to me.

Luckily, Gregg Kreutz made a Facebook post that pointed me in the right direction.  He said that if you listen to the painting, it will tell you what to do.  Bingo!  When I listened to this painting it was shouting at me "PUT SOMETHING ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE VASE!!!".  So that is what I did.

After thinking about it a bit, I decided to use a white hydrangea since the vase had blue in it.  I wanted to make sure that the colors stayed balanced and a blue flower would have been too much.

At this point I thought I was done with the painting (again) and cleaned my brushes and put everything away, but something was still bugging me.

So, this is what I did:  I put some white paint on my easel (the palette was already clean), got out my small palette knife, and just started putting straight titanium white on the left side hydrangea.  The right side of the flower was facing the light and needed to be pumped up.

And here we are, the finished painting.  I swear I'm not touching it again!  It needs to be varnished and if we ever have a non rainy day again, photographed outside, but for now I'm so happy that it is finally finished.

As I mentioned earlier, I also finished a new still life yesterday, so I'll have that for you next.  I know this was a long one, so thanks for reading!!

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