Saturday, July 09, 2011

Daily Painting Practice- New Direction -Solving Painting Problems Often Creates Others

Here I am back from my "bolgcation" a month earlier than  I had planned.  I left the landscaping  job.  (It seems working in 100 degree heat  doesn't do  good things for my body.)
  Before I  took time off  from blogging,  I said I  was thinking of taking my art in a new direction. I am still working that out as I type this, but  here's a hint... I actually  took out my watercolors!!!!  I know... I was  shocked too! But let's not get  ahead of the ourselves. This is about a new journey. A new direction for Daily Painting Practice. ( with some familiar bumps in the road.)

  I have  always had a deep love of nature and have always had a special place in my heart for  birds, flowers, plants and trees. I have been a bird watcher since I was a child, I remember illustrating my own book of birds in the 4th grade. Botanical drawing and painting  has always fascinated me as well. The  Dutch flower painters from the  1600's.have also  intrigued me.  The exquisite quality  of their work is fascinating but what interests me is the study and knowledge that  is behind those paintings. So that is  where my journey  will begin.

When I say begin,  I mean  I am a beginner at this.  I have piles of sketch books in the studio... all empty, waiting to  be filled with  plant studies, bird sketches, and flowers... lots of flowers.
My idea is to do as much study from nature as possible, then take  those sketches (and photos)  and develop compositions from them instead of  copying  still life set ups in the studio. I will create the arrangements in my head and work them out on paper  like the Dutch Masters did. I often wondered how they were able to put flowers that  didn't bloom in the same season, in the same picture.

  I am finding that the sketching takes so much longer than I imagined. However, I have discovered one  of the gifts that comes with this practice.... It generates ideas.  The time spent sketching frees space in your mind that allows creative thoughts and ideas to flow in. Think of it as yoga for your brain.
Above is a thumbnail sketch of an idea for an arrangement fora painting of peonies.
I  took a bunch of photos of different peonies and did some sketching and  arranged the composition.Some of the peonies are  the same flowers  turned and only  a few days older so they opened up more. (can you find the peony bud I used from the sketch at the beginning of this post) So far so good, right?
I decided to transfer the drawing to another  piece of paper and try to do a complete tonal study in pencil and charcoal...but  I ran out of patience ( need to work on that). I just want to  start painting!
Here's my first mistake. I started playing with the arrangement of the flowers and changing the drawing. I thought the  flower on top should be a little higher.....and lean  toward the right..

 Now the flower pot looks too small.... Creating your own reality is harder than I thought.

Made the pot  wider at the bottom and changed some of the flowers.... funny thing, after doing all that work on the sketch,  I  am now making changes with the brush directly on the canvas.

I start adding  cooler  colors and I change the location of the buds several times.

 Now I am actually  relaxing  with the paint and enjoying the process.  I don't like the handles onthe vase.. Change them. Change is my  friend...I love change...

But then that voice...something is not right  or is it right. I can't tell anymore . My reality is slipping away....
  I ask she who must not be  named " What do you think?  What's wrong with it?"
" That flower on the top  is too high for the vase it would fall over."
Now I can't decide. so I took it out.

 I have a painting  problem.  Every problem I  think I solve I cause another to appear.  I'm hoping those of you still reading this can help me solve some... take a look at the last two photos. Was there anything wrong with the top one?  Does  the arrangement  feel right or  should it come out? Any ideas on what to do?

I love change... change is my friend....change is good.... I need a cup of tea.


Celeste Bergin said...

what an interesting post...! I loved all the sketches. I didn't find anything wrong with the version where one flower was tallest, as a matter of fact it seemed to fill the canvas best. Very beautiful flowers!

Thomas Haskett said...

Maybe bigger/different handles on the vase might have made the composition feel less top heavy? I quite liked the tall flower version too!
Great post though, excellent idea, really enjoyed reading the process..

Anonymous said...

I love the way the flowers seem lit up and how you created the darker parts of the flower.


jimserrettstudio said...

I like the tall composition also.

Really enjoyed reading this with my morning coffee, just goes to prove it not just me. LOL

Fun to watch you process this piece and very nice work.

Gail Sauter said...

Hi Peter,
Welcome back!
I think the composition has become too frontal... it feels 'thin' at the top. I'd like to see a top flower, but one that faced away from us giving a greater sense of depth to the bouquet. Also, they are at a stage of 'thing-ness' rather than full of the life and lusciousness that you conveyed so beautifully in the sketches.
... just my 2 cents!

Marilyn R Miller said...

Thank you for your wonderful paintings! I really enjoy receiving your blog in my email! I wish your name came with it (in the title of your blog) so I could learn your name and know who you are....
I really admire these drawings and the painting!

Kathy Jurek said...

You got me really excited when you mentioned watercolor, Peter! I agree that the painting was too heavy with the big peony on top. What I would suggest now is to put a few of your buds peeking out between the larger peonies - Just like in real flower arrangements there is always some baby's breath or fillers to add some texture and variety. I think this will give it some more interest and flow. :)

Darren Maurer said...

I like the bottom composition best. I sometimes think my background as a designer first makes me love "white space". Go with it young man...!!

Anonymous said...

Peter, we have been following your work since July 2006. I fell in love with the simplicity and honesty of a jar of Smuckers jam and cookies and milk. We complimented that admiration with the purchase of 3 of your daily paintings. (medium, mums and work boots) Keep up the posts and your art, it inspires us. Love from Oregon

Arold said...

I think you did a great job detailing the the process that you used.

Melle Ferre said...

The drawing had such precise edges and value contrasts...some of that distinction could come back perhaps?

Unknown said...

thanks for sharing your process and your thoughts. As a beginner, it's very helpful...

victor said...

thank you for this blog that allows us amateurs to follow a master.Its exciting to watch step by step the making of a painting.
May I suggest more info about the colours employed'?Thank you again

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