Saturday, February 9, 2008

orange flowers

It feels so good to finally have studio space. I can leave my paints and my books strewn about, my easel always set up and waiting, my canvases crowding all the available wall space...

I have about five pieces in progress right now -- one of which is actually four separate 18 x 24 inch panels. It started out years ago as a final project in one of my painting classes, and was so hideous that I covered everything in these fetching shades of gray in order to start over:

I was originally aiming for the sort of pale mottled concrete texture that I find so appealing, but Southern California is so blasted sunny that I felt kind of guilty painting in just gray and taupe. I decided to challenge myself to use some bright contrast-y colors that I don't normally use, namely orange. I was looking through a book of Odilon Redon's works, and was so inspired by his dreamy flower-scapes, and particularly this one, that I mixed up a bunch of paint and set to work:

I have also been inspired by byobu, Japanese screen paintings whose subjects range from the Tales of Genji to seasonal flowers and birds. So I had that in mind when I assembled these peonies, poppies, anemones, dandelions, and nasturtium... though I'm probably breaking all kinds of rules putting those flowers together, dismissing seasons like a Californian.

Once I had the flowers on there, the composition looked too symmetrical, too formulaic, so the next day I scraped the paint off and had at it again, also refining the poppies a bit:

It's moving along now, with some more depth of color at the bottom of each panel. Next I plan to lighten up that gray background and even it out a little more -- keeping the dappled texture, but making it more subtle. Better get to it before I loose my light.


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