Bridge at Kensington

Bridge at Kensington

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Dried Flowers

Here are the last of my North Carolina work, two still lifes of flowers that the lady-of-the-house had cut from her garden before they left for Oregon. Walking by them one day after they had long died and dried, I noticed the lovely lines and gestures.

This first one, above, was intended to be a quick sketch so I could get a feel for the flowers. I haven't been much of a flower or still life painter and wanted to get a sense of how I worked with these flowers. Plus, I rather liked the straight forward lineup of the bud vases in the wooden rack.

I decided I didn't want to paint this on my usual 6 x 8 in. canvas because that would have rendered the flowers as mere dots. So I gessoed a pad of watercolor paper I had with me and sat down one evening. It actually took me several hours, much longer than I expected.

About a week later I took the flowers outside into better light and decided to try again with a 9 x 12 in. canvas board I bought in town. I put the crumbling flowers into one bud vase and when I set it against the exterior siding, realized the color of the siding was a perfect complement to the other colors.

Again, my goal was to look like these flowers were gestural, with the brush strokes quickly showing the shape, line and direction of the petals. I'm reasonably pleased with this second still life, as the treatment suits the dried, fragile nature of the flowers and gives a sense of quickly they'll be gone.