June 29, 2012

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens - Lotus Flowers

Just getting underway with a new painting of lotus flowers at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens.  The lotus flowers are water plants that rise high above the surface of the water, with large leaves that look like umbrellas and flowers that have a center seed pod shaped like a shower head.  A pond filled with them is a spectacular sight and they are at their peak right now.  The painting I've started shows how both light comes through and deep shadows reflect on the water; it's a nice contrast to the way the water lilies in my other recent paintings rest on top of the water and create a different pattern of shadow and light.

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is a fantastic place to see lotus flowers and water lilies.  What I didn't expect -- and was fascinated by -- were the mud flats of the marshy areas covered with animal tracks.  There were clear prints of herons, raccoons, ducks, many birds and some paws that might have been beavers or muskrats.  We only saw the herons and other birds during the day; we also saw turtles but I can't say whether they left behind any prints in the mud.

June 25, 2012

Long View of Lilies

This is the finished painting of the lily pond at Lilypons -- it's 5 feet wide, 3 feet tall.

June 17, 2012

Accuracy in Water Gardens

Just to be clear -- those upright water plants with purple spiked flowers are pickerel rush, not water lilies.  The water lilies are the plants with pads that rest on top of the water.  

Painting in a Series -- More lilies

The lilies at Tregaron have quickly begun to go to seed.  I went back for an afternoon painting today.  The brush I was using, at one point, was the kind of brush that was just stiff enough that it took more paint off than it laid down.  Very frustrating.  I also used a few transparent colors that barely mixed with other colors.  Ugh.  I ended up with very thick paint and deep brushstrokes.

The pattern of the brushstrokes had to be worked to support some of the painting was upright plant material, some was a horizontal plane of water and some was reflected, going deeper below the surface.

There's a course at the Corcoran School on painting in a series that a friend of mine has taken.  I haven't taken it, but here I am, working my way through lily paintings.   I've been looking at how to take a subject and work on it using a variety of viewpoints, palettes and techniques.  The trick is to make the paintings work together.  Once these lily paintings are a bit drier, I need to see how well they group and what seems to be missing.

June 14, 2012

Blooming at Tregaron

What a thrill to go to Tregaron today and see that the blossoms had opened and beautiful purple spikes of flowers were all over the pond.

I am wildly happy about the reflection in the pond in this painting.

And, in case you are wondering, insect repellent inside a car does nothing to stop mosquitos, wasps and untold numbers of bugs from landing on a painter in the woods by a pond.

June 13, 2012

Knitting in the Garden

It wasn't immediately obvious that there was going to be something to paint when we got to this house today.  The owner's mother had a knitting project to work on and agreeably sat -- better than a professional model! -- quite still and worked on her baby blankets.  The family dog, a Rhodesian Ridgeback, periodically stopped to sit beside her.  At one point, the dog rolled on his back and I thought that would have been an interesting view to paint!

I can see now that I'm out of the bright sun that a few things need balancing and a few things need to be knocked off balance (the too-even spots of sky between the distant trees).

June 12, 2012

5 Feet of Lilies

Just getting underway with a painting that's 5 feet wide by 3 feet high.  I'm working on it in the studio (can't manage a canvas this large outside) and hoping to create a sense of distance at the back of the painting as the painting shifts in scale and color intensity.

Lilies, finished

June 11, 2012

Airpark today,Water Lilies in progress

No shade except for a truck parked next to me at the airpark this morning.  I liked these two planes and the shapes made between them and around them.  Since it was 90 degrees out, I was working quickly... a good thing since the plane on the left flew off as I was wrapping this up. Other painters had been complaining about the fence -- I thought it helped ground the planes (so to speak!) and provide context.

Over the weekend, I started on a very large 36 x 48 painting of waterlilies.  I'd been out to Lilypons, a water garden paradise that sells everything you need for your own pond, including koi, and thought I might try to paint there.  It's not going to happen at that site -- it's too far away and I'm now realizing that lily ponds thrive and their flowers bloom in full sun.  Just the conditions that melt painters.  I took photos and this is being done from one.  I need to work more on the water -- there's a lot going on with shadows and the feeling of depth I still have to capture.  The blossoms are also rough at this point, but I like where it's headed.