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.