Saturday, 15 March 2008

Lilies and Iris

Seems like endless days of rain, and cold, I'm desperate for the sun to shine and warmer weather to heat me up a bit. Can't go outside and sketch as I would like to so I content myself by looking for inspiration in my sketchbooks as normal and find this watercolour sketch (below) of Day Lilies and some Iris sharing a simple blue vase. I think I can do something with it.

Watercolour and pencil on paper, 2xA4: Made a few years ago the drawing spills across two pages but it has a liveliness I like and get inspired by, but will it fit the square format I think would suit this subject.

Felt Pen and watercolour on paper, 15x15cm: A small test sketch just to be sure that the square format will work. I think so and plough straight on with the painting!

Oil on Canvas, 60x60cm: Choosing a pre-prepared stretched canvas with a darkish blue/green undercoat that I think is eminently suitable for this subject I start with drawing out the principle shapes in a variety of coloured oil pastels. Next I spend a bit of time mixing quantities of the colours I intend to use - tit.white with touches of blue, mauve, yellow and green; with alizarin and a touch of white, same again with some green added; and various greens themselves ranging from lemon yellowish to dark blue-ish. The palette at this juncture is looking great and I think about stopping here, taking a picture of it, and posting it as the finished work! But no, I must press on.

With the mighty palette knife I start blocking in - the white flowers first, then the Iris, then the background. Working, working, working. Scraping off, laying on, Scraping off, laying on. Wax on, right hand. Wax off, left hand. Wax on, wax off. Breathe in through nose, out the mouth. Wax on, wax off. Don't forget to breathe, very important. [walks away, still making circular motions with hands]. Sorry, I got carried away. For a moment there I was the Karate Kid listening to Mr Miyagi's instructions. [Back to the plot] I've now lost the thread. Is there anything more to be said? The final painting is there for all to see. I'm pleased with it.


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