Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Summer flowers

Oil on linen panel, 11 x 14

These flowers are from a local fruit stand. I love how organic and different they look, unlike those ones you usually see in grocery stores and even flower shops. 

I remember Quang Ho said in his still-life painting video that the best still-life has a sense of randomness in it. Like you just happen to find it in its current state. It does not look staged. You can experiment and put different things together, and see how they look. You might even spend hours arranging it yet it looks a bit haphazard and beautiful. 

These flowers fell into a graceful arrangement once I put them in a tall vase, bursting with colors and life. I really slowed down for this painting. I usually paint flowers very fast, carried by the initial excitement and the urgency that the flowers will soon change shape. But this time I was drawn to study each flower, its structure and character. There is clarity and satisfaction in observing those details carefully. 

That light green flower literally took me over three hours. I had to scrape it and start over the next day. It's very engrossing. What I learned is if I stare at it long enough I can actually paint its every petal instead of going cross-eyed, and come to a better understanding of the light and shadow pattern on the flower. And the silhouette of each flower is very important. It tells the distinct character of each flower.