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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Indecisive Indecision

I've been struggling with the last painting I am doing for a series for a solo show at the Northern Alberta Jubilee in Edmonton, Alberta.  I'm really excited about this show, I will be the very first artist in their new Alcove Gallery, so this is pretty special.

The show starts October 19 and runs until January 4, 2016.  I am still putting the finishing touches on most of the paintings that will be in the show, but the last one is my struggle.  I knew I wanted to paint a sunflower and I couldn't seem to get that idea out of my head, but I have never had this much trouble figuring out what to actually put on the canvas.......................

1st idea - a group of flowers
I thought a grouping would work out great, but it was a struggle to find the perfect reference material. Although you would think all sunflowers look similar, there is a great degree of difference, especially in what might be interpreted as their personality. I found something I thought I could work with, but once I got the monochromatic started I realized I didn't like the composition, it looked good on paper, the drawing looked okay on the canvas, but it just wasn't saying what I wanted it to say.

2nd idea - large flower heads

Then I thought, forget the grouping, I needed to paint a large flower head, maybe two, that would be perfect!.................not so much..................
3rd idea - forget the sunflower, time to paint an orchid
Next I decided I wasn’t going to paint a sunflower, maybe this idea was just not meant to be.  Instead I would paint an orchid.  Who doesn't like an orchid, I love orchids, I can't seem to grow them, but I buy them anyway, they do last quite awhile if you remember to water them.....but not too much water, and don't move them around, and don't touch them, and don't ever let them sit in water, unless you are watering them in a sink, that's the only time they can sit in water, but then you are moving them around, so I'm not sure that's a good idea. And when you buy books about orchids, it might be a good idea to read them before you buy the next orchid to replace the one that just lost all it's flowers.  Did you know orchid leaves are also nice to look at???, I decided the orchid wasn't what I wanted to paint after all.
4th idea - back to the sunflower
Back to the idea of painting one large sunflower..........what was I thinking when I decided to paint an orchid????  I started a new large sunflower, but realized I needed to make the center smaller for it to work and maybe I needed to make the whole thing smaller, maybe this was just a stupid sunflower, it doesn't even look happy, aren't sunflowers supposed to look happy?!!??! I painted over the sunflower with white oil paint and decided I needed to begin again.
5th idea - maybe a group of flowers would be better
Back to the idea of painting a group of sunflowers...............................  I found a photo that I took a long time ago and thought by adjusting the grouping a bit this would be a fantastic, over the top, amazing painting, so I drew it out…………….but then again..................

Back to the literal drawing board!  Nothing was working, nothing was speaking to me, this painting was not making me happy.  I decided it was time to take another trip to Sunflower Gardens, one of my favorite places to take pictures, and see what I could find, because if I couldn't find something that worked I needed to move on and scrape this idea...............sometimes I have a hard time letting go though..........

It was a beautiful day when I got out to the Gardens.  I took my camera and walked and walked and took as many photos as I could.  I was finding lots of beautiful sunflowers, took lots of pictures for future reference, enjoyed the day, but I just couldn't find what I was looking for.  Where were those unique "look at me" sunflowers.  Just as I was going to leave I went out behind the store and took a photo of a grouping of sunflowers.  There was something kind of interesting about them.  I looked at the photo on the camera and felt I had something that was kind of special.  I took a bunch of photos and decided to go home and see what turned out.  When I uploaded them I was really excited, because finally I found what I wanted....finally!!  
6th and last idea - the background
When I got home I rubbed out the drawing I had already done of the other grouping of flowers and to save time I decided to put the background in first on my latest endeavor.  This was a big job and took a lot of paint, but it worked.  As it dried for a few days I fiddled around with the reference photo and decided on the exact composition I wanted to paint.

The drawing
The drawing was the next step, so using a charcoal pencil I did a quick drawing and then started the monochromatic, praying that this was going to work, because I was running out of time!

The start of the monochromatic
And so it begins, a painting that has taken a long time to come to life, a painting that still has a long way to go.  Cross you fingers for me that this works and stay tuned over the next few weeks.

1 comment:

Denise said...

What a journey this painting has been. You're very experienced when it comes to journeys and traveling them successfully. I'm sure this will be no different.

Denise Gauthier.