This morning my fingers itched to paint on a big canvas, so out came a fresh 1x1m (39×39″) canvas and a
10cm (4″) 5cm (2″) brush. Not long in, I was reminded that when working big you need put out a lot more paint. Self-evident, you’d think, but when I’ve been painting on a smaller scale a lot I tend to forget and the paint runs out after only a few brushstrokes.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the flower paintings I’d done recently, and have been studying the florals of artists such as Egon Schiele (sunflowers less well know than Van Gogh’s), Claude Monet, Odilon Redon and a few contemporary painters including Kurt Jackson, Bobbie Burgers, Jimmy Wright. Being mid-winter growing flowers are in short supply, but I’ve got a pot of hothouse mums toughing it out in my studio and standing in for daisies.
Started by virtuously doing thumbnail sketches of compositions in a sketchbook, just like you’re supposed to, then used my first idea anyway and tried not to hear the little voice snarking “told you so”. The white was eliminated with turquoise phthalo and cadmium orange hue. I started with the orange, cleaned my brush (properly!) and applied the turquoise at the top. Then without cleaning the brush swirled it around in circles in the still-wet orange so the two colours mixed to create a darkish brown. The idea being that this would read as “shadow” beneath the flowers.
After cleaning my brush (thoroughly!) I applied cadmium yellow deep to the centres of these swirls in vaguely circular shapes that would become the centre of the daisies. Another clean of the brush and out came lots of titanium white. Started at the bottom and worked my way up, applying “petals”. Most were a single brush stroke, and I wiped the brush cleanish before moving onto the next flower. (I wiped the brush on a spare canvas, using the paint to create a pale yellow ground on it ready for another day.) Lastly I sprayed some water to make it rain, and that’s where the painting was left to dry. Round One finished.