Monday, February 26, 2018

Another Attempt

After reading the entry on the first peony painting, two of my most faithful readers wrote to tell me that they liked the painting and to ask what all the fuss (in my mind) was about.  Bless them for always finding the good in things!  

I have spent some time on three separate days on this subject.  Day one was during class, and days two and three were at home.  As is often the case, the first day's work was too pale to photograph.  Day two may have been dark enough, but I just didn't get to it.  

Today, after painting, I was feeling that sense of "darn, blew it again".  I've been trying to get the "bowl" look of a peony, and I don't think I've got it yet.  So I walked away and still didn't pull out my camera.  But writing this entry has made me decide that I need to make a record of what I've done so far.  If it turns out to be the wrong way to go about capturing this flower, I should keep a record of it so I won't repeat the mistake.  If it's all right but something else goes wrong, I need to be able to replicate it.  So here it is:

 One thing that I just did was look at two other peony photos taken from the same bouquet.  The first one is a pink peony that definitely has a bowl shape with petals clustered around the middle.

The second one is the same flower I'm painting (you can just make out the pinkish-blush on the outer petals and a few petal tips).  It's taken from a different view; if you scroll back an entry or two, you can see the photo I am using.  This bloom is probably a bit older than the true pink flower (above).  Notice how the petals at the bottom of the flower are drooping down?  You can see the rounded clustering of petals at the top of the flower, but that effect is lost at the bottom where the petals are giving in to gravity.  

By the way, I am deliberately overemphasizing the blush on the white peony in my painting. 

 We'll hear what Teacher says tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Being right can be great, but sometimes it really isn't.  That's the way I felt today today in painting when Sharon agreed with my assessment of the peony painting shown in last night's entry.  I thought it was overworked and beyond repair, but when she agreed with me, I have to admit I sighed.  She did tell me what I might try (believing, I think, that I had to try and discover for myself that the painting was doomed). 

I did what she suggested, and as she thought, it didn't work.  I had to admit to my self that she was right; the painting was a good lesson but not worth much more.

My feelings were initially that I shouldn't have begun the painting as I had: tracing the photo on paper, painting each petal, each section, separately - almost like a paint-by-number piece, and going dark far too soon (almost impossible to retreat back to pale colors once the darks are in place), and basically not using a loose, watercolor approach.

While all that was basically true, what I came to realize that I almost had to paint as I did to understand how the peony was constructed.  Here is the photo:

and the original painting (keep in mind that I do like bold colors, and deliberately chose the deep reds and purples to add drama):


By painting almost petal by petal, I feel that maybe now I can paint in loose water-color style, using the water as the medium, not the paint. The flower doesn't work - check the photo again.  The typical bowl shape isn't there.  The flower isn't cupped; it looks flat and wide as though all the petal were limp and had opened wide.  

There are other problems,of course, but there are a couple of decent things, too.  The background is very water color-ish, and the leaf mid-way up on the right is fine.

Not much to crow about, is there!

However, that did not deter me from taking what I learned by painting the above and starting over without the tracing and with using a looser approach.  Right now the new attempt is too pale to show up well in a photo, but in a couple of days (I hope), I may have something a bit better to show.  Even if I don't, learning took place (as D, the educator, would say).

Monday, February 19, 2018

New Subject - Flowers

Last Tuesday, I started a new painting with a subject I haven't tackled before - flowers. There have been flowers in some of my landscapes, but until now I haven't focused specifically on them.  One of my photographs has been whispering my name so I decided to risk failure and try it.  Since Tuesday I have spent time almost everyday working on it.  My reaction as I worked has gone from "it might have promise (last Tuesday in class), to "it's okay", to "oh no, it's horrible", and now it's back to "well, maybe it's not a total failure".

Peonies aren't easy.  I'll let you know what my teacher thinks.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

February List - Finally!

Last week I managed (finally!) to write out my list for the month of February. Already I am concerned about getting everything on it finished.  It isn't because it is unusually long or difficult; it's because I find myself distracted. 

First I'll just post the list.  Then I'll explain what's going on with each item, and by doing that, I may figure out what the difficulties are.  If I can do that, I may be able to alleviate my concerns.

  1. Special Project 
  2. Put away Christmas decorations - Done!!!
  3. Make quilt binding
  4. Sew on quilt binding
  5. Work on Farmer's Wife
  6. Start Kim Diehl project

Okay, already I see one issue.  These are only the sewing projects, and my painting has also been taking time.  Fortunately, I've gotten to a point where I can slow down on my current project so that should no longer be a problem.

The first one - well, I'm dragging my feet.

The second  on the list - well, that's finally done.

Third and fourth - haven't even started.  Since they don't take too much time, the problem is clearly just getting on with it.  It's really an easy task so I think it will be finished this month.

Number five?  Hoo-boy.  Now there's a huge project that will take more than one month to complete.   And if that weren't enough, it's difficult.  More than likely that's why so far I have merely moved it from one place to another.   However, it must also receive some attention even if it's only cutting the set-in triangles I need (far too many of them if you ask me!).

The sixth task has been cut out, and by doing that I realize that it will take several days of careful sewing.  Many, many tiny pieces that because they are so small will need special attention during stitching.  However, since this is a new project, I need to take care of numbers 1, 3, and 4 first before I go any farther on this.

Okay, I think I get it.  I'm really, really good at procrastination, but I'm also pretty good at self-discipline.

Some times.