When I received an email from a woman in Switzerland, asking if I’d be interested in a commission to paint the site of her wedding (the Brazilian Room in Tilden Park) as a 10-year anniversary gift for her husband I said an enthusiastic, “Yes!” We agreed I would have the painting completed when she visited the Bay Area a couple of months later so that she could hand carry it back to Switzerland.
I visited the site, took photos and we agreed I would use the one above as reference for the painting. Since I shot the photo in late spring it wouldn’t really match the colors and light of her August wedding so I also used my imagination and memory of the park in summer to capture the warmth and strong light of August in the Bay Area. Below are some of the steps in the painting process. Read More
My hydrangea bush is doing great this year, probably because it’s on the side of the house that is now a dog run and every day I empty the dog’s water bowl on the bush. Also it’s no longer competing with its two siblings that I removed because one never blossomed and the other had annoying teensy flowers that shed all over the table.
These remotes live in the studio and operate a little combo TV/VCR, a DVD player and the stereo. There are another half-dozen that live in the house. I’m glad remotes were invented but they are ugly and annoying. I so wish I had this remote (a brilliant sketch and concept!)
As I noted in my journal above, drawing a fan seemed like it would be even more boring than drawing the remotes but in fact it was really fun. I was really surprised as I sketch to discover all kinds of interesting design features I’d never noticed before when just turning it on or off (without the using the remote that came with it, which I’ve lost).
So I didn’t make it to every day in May, just 75% of them. I went away for a 3 day retreat and when I came back had lost the momentum. Oh well.
Do you think people born around holidays grow up to reflect the qualities of that holiday? My friend Judith was born the day before Valentine’s Day and she’s extra sweet. I took her out for a birthday breakfast this morning.
Our waitress must have had a bad day (trying to be generous here). The other waitresses all gave long stem red carnations to their customers. We had to beg for a coffee refill and she didn’t give us flowers.
I started to drive away after we’d said goodbye but felt sad not to have a flower to take home and draw. So I parked again, went back into the restaurant and asked for a flower. And here it is.
The other thing on this page is a round plastic “bottle” with pop-top that I found in the street. The product name and contents are equally disgusting: a cocktail of vodka, apple liquor and apple juice called Buzz Ballz. Really? Who is this being marketed to? (And yes, I washed my hands and the container before painting it.)
It seems like I’ve been struggling with painting sunflowers forever but with each attempt I understand them a little better. I’m very stubborn and will continue trying until the sunflowers and I are really good friends.
I lit the flowers above with very warm light which made the olive-green backdrop cloth look gold and kind of bleached out the color of the flowers. The pictures in this post are in the reverse order I made them, with the last first.
I did the sketch above after having such difficulty with the two below, trying to better understand the shapes of the flowers and their structure.
After working for hours on the vase in the painting above I looked at it in the mirror to check the symmetry and couldn’t stop laughing. It was completely off kilter, slanted to one side as if it had melted. It’s just amazing how our eyes and brain work together to correct things and fool us. I had to completely start the vase over to get it close to right. I experimented with using a dark background and tried to paint duller, darker colors for flowers not in the light but vibrant color kept sneaking back in. After days of repainting I called it done so I could move on.
The first problem with the one above was my drawing. Instead of taking the time to carefully draw these sunflowers I jumped into painting, combining a few specifics with some generic version of flowers. All the pointy, sharp shapes and droopy flowers are a good visual representation of my struggle, frustration, and ultimately, disappointment with this painting.
I completed these pieces at the end of last year and had to give up when I couldn’t find any more sunflowers. Soon sunflowers will be available and I can start painting them again.
I have a feeling it’s going to go better this time around. I am studying nature drawing with John Muir Laws at his Bay Area Nature Journal Club. This month’s session was all about drawing flowers and I learned all sorts of cool stuff. More about that another time.