such resilient flowers, blooming in the most unexpected places
I work on three paintings at a time in my studio, as I have three easels, one standing and two table versions. I started to do this because I paint very thickly, using blades and palette knives, so it takes times for the paint to dry. By having three on the go, I can get much more painting done in one visit, or if one of them is testing me and I'm not sure where the conversation is going, I have others I can progress.
The latter was true of this one. I was busy with 'the face of discrimination' and it was testing me greatly. What I needed was something that might engage positive emotions and offer gentler challenges. I asked myself what I could paint to achieve that and the response was an immediate, 'poppies!'. I was a little surprised, but as a favourite motto of mine is, 'if you don't think you'll like the answer, don't ask the question', I thought I should accept the challenge and create them.
So began the transformation of the wood panel I had been using to clean my tools on and test new colours.
I don't work from reference photos or sketches of any kind. In some ways creating this painting was like gardening, which has taught me much about patience and colour. Progress was at a pace to help me complete the other more emotionally charged painting. The poppies invoked their restful calm and remembrance of better times. The base or under painting took several visits, but it was an enjoyable process developing the shapes in not very obvious colours, but it's how I felt it at the time.
Once the other painting was complete the poppies took my attention and appeared to burst into life with the addition of the thick luscious reds, applied in the manner of good ketchup on great sausages. Oranges, pinks and purples, followed in flurries of paint and then oil pastel highlights.
I usually leave what I consider a finished painting on the easel for a week, to see if they need more from me but this one whispered finished the very next day and I agreed.
Poppies, the finished painting
The painting is now available for purchase in my gallery, although I shall enjoy this one through lock down #3. Poppies are such resilient flowers, blooming in the most unexpected places and poor conditions. I believe we can learn much from their fleeting flowerings.
Whatever happens in my studio, or wherever else I create, I shall write about it here on my #blog so you can join me on the journey if you wish by subscribing, or following me on social media.