Monday, August 05, 2019

Last week I had the chance to get away to our little cottage in Michigan. I met my sister up there. We'd both brought some art projects and reading materials, but we ended up concentrating on one book she'd brought up and had been working from. So we had our own little art retreat! The book is "Expressive Flower Painting" by Lynn Whipple. She has a unique approach and I will show some pics, but not all the will need to buy or check out the book to get all the details.
Here I'm making the first layer. There are many layers to the process, and this may or may not show in the finished painting.
This is my inspiration photo. I would never have picked something so complicated, but her process is more about painting it the way you see it and your impression of it.

Here are some more are layering drawings and colors with soft pastels...turning your canvas as you go. I was seriously having trouble letting go and doing this. I guess I'm a control freak.
Finally you pick one orientation and start painting in your darkest darks and then your flowers and your lightest lights. Different folks seem to all do this their own way. I was trying not to get too literal as that is my usual hangup.  In this photo you can see the table top is the layers below showing and I was hoping to somehow keep those layers, but in the end I wasn't happy with the colors in it.

Here I was going back in with the soft pastels to add some definition and detail to the flowers.

The background wasn't working for me, so I changed it to a green. Our porch at the lake is a light green and I was inspired by that. I also changed the table....I could have left the layers showing as the table top, but it didn't seem to work well with all the pink I'd put in the flowers.  

When I sat back and looked at this I was shocked that I'd made this! It is very different from what I usually do: ink drawings and watercolors in a sketchbook. I'd been so angsty during some of these stages, and that tells me I was stepping outside my comfort zone. But of course that's where the learning and growth happens! We started this at 10 pm and worked straight though the night...full of adrenaline! After finishing we crashed. 

The next few days we kayaked, swam, picked roadside flowers and some from the yard, visited with neighbors, and also did a bit more art...
Jennifer was working on painting a water lily. She'd already completed two paintings using Lynn's method. I didn't get a pic of them all together, but maybe it's not too late. 

I used a small canvas and tried to do one bloom. At one point I almost threw it out, but then when I added the pastels I liked it again! So if you go get Lynn's book, try all the steps, and just keep going even if it feels like a mess at some stages. There is not much background to play with on this one, so I used the sides too and added polka dots for fun.

If you ever get a chance to get away from your normal routine (by yourself or with someone with similar interests) to focus on your art, I'd recommend it! It's unusual to get to concentrate fully for several days with no least it is in my life, and I have a feeling I'm not alone in that.