I picked a big bouquet of flowers and set them up outside, where I prefer to paint. Fortunately there were two essential ingredients on that hot, humid day. The first was the shade of a cherry tree to cool the air, and the second was a breeze to discourage the mosquitoes. Continue reading
“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.” – Claude Monet
I just came back from a painting journey to Brier Island. The ocean and meadows were fabulous to experience.. and to paint. Still I couldn’t wait to come home to enjoy the rest of the iris and lupin season. Continue reading
Right now, I’m headed outside to paint iris and lupins. Here is a repost of a blog I made in 2010 about painting at this time of year. I will try today to express the emotional connection I feel for iris as I did in this painting.
There were gorgeous, large bearded irises in my grandmother’s garden over 50 years ago. My mother transplanted some to her garden and eventually I had them in my garden. They moved ½ way across the continent with us when we came to Nova Scotia and are blooming like never before.
I know my mom and my grandmother would have loved the yellow variety that I’ve added to the ancestral iris. And I know they would have loved the wild purple, pink and white lupins that grow like weeds here and especially at our place.
I want to show you how I painted and drew these flowers using fluid acrylics over a base of wet matt medium and I’ve made a tutorial for you about this. Enjoy!
I paint from life and in early June, the lupins and iris are in bloom here in Nova Scotia. I brought some into the studio and placed them in wine bottles so that I could have good close-up examples of the lupin in the distance. Although I prefer to paint on location, at this time of year the black flies are biting, so I paint inside.
I started this painting applying watered-down acrylic on a primed canvas. I wanted to achieve a soft, wet in wet watercolour effect.
When that dried, I applied a thick coating of matt medium over the entire canvas and then painted into it with my fluid acrylic paints. I keep them in sealed plastic containers in a muffin tin. That way they are always ready to use.
I try to limit my palette to five colours or fewer because it creates a better colour harmony in the painting. I paint with nylon brushes and I also use a rubber-tipped scraper to draw shapes into the painting.
I dip the scraper into my paint and draw with it much like dipping a pen into ink. I like the calligraphy effects that I can get by pushing the paint away and creating a line and a texture.
If the medium gets too tacky, I moisten it with a spray of water. The water also makes the paint run which adds an interesting softening effect to the work.
As long as the medium is moist, the painting can be worked on and the scraping will reveal the colours underneath.
I love iris and I deliberately choose purple and yellow because they are complementary colours and they make the painting vibrate.
Although I have an easel, I painted this on the floor because otherwise the entire painting would drip and run if I placed it upright. That’s because I have a coating of wet matt medium on the canvas and that is the tip or secret that I am sharing with you.
I came across this quite by accident and now I almost always paint with acrylic this way. For one, it delays the drying period, which I like; but the biggest advantage is that I can create all kinds of textures and linear marks in the painting by pushing away the colour with a scraping tool and revealing the layer of colour or canvas underneath.
I bought a gorgeous yellow iris at a plant sale this spring and I wanted to make it the focal point in this painting. Unfortunately, by the time I painted this, it had finished blooming, but I used my huge purple bearded iris as reference. That’s the beauty of being the painter. You can change the colours of anything in your painting to suit your mood!
Check list for this painting:
Golden fluid acrylics
Rubber tipped scraper
Spray water bottle
I have a strong need to paint from life so wintertime here is a real challenge for me! It is a great feeling to be present with a living flower and to sense the life force of it. Sometimes I paint from photographs I’ve taken, but it’s not as satisfying an experience. Continue reading
|In the Begonia Garden by Flora Doehler, 2010. 8″ x 8″|
This past weekend I joined over 70 artists to ‘Paint the Town’ in Annapolis Royal. This annual fundraiser for the local Arts Council is a great opportunity for artists to show and sell their work and for collectors to watch artists at work and to buy art at reasonable prices.
|If you are curious about the contents of my painting kit, click on the photo and read the notes at Flickr.|
|The Artist entry fee is $12.|
The first morning I scouted around the park with its ancient trees.
|Surrounded by happy flowers.|
Wonderful until I realized that I’d forgotten to bring containers for my paint water!! I finished my treat and headed for the recyling bin where I found plastic juice containers! My sharp knife soon transformed them into water jars and it was smooth sailing after that.
|This was my largest painting. I used up all my matt medium on it.|
My Sunday problem was that I ran out of matt medium! It’s an essential part of my kit because I use it to get the scratching-in effect in my paintings. I searched out other artists in the park and was given some by artist Shannon Bell and when that ran out, a bottle of the stuff from Louise Baker, an artist with a love of colour who lives in Halifax. Thank you Louise and Shannon!!!
Here are the paintings I did in the Victorian Garden until the sun drove me away. (Click on the images to enlarge them.)
|The challenge here was to edit the elements down to make sense of the scene in a painting.|
They were visiting from Montreal and I told them about the silent auction. They later lost out on the bids for 2 of my pieces, but found their way to our studio the next day where they bought 2 paintings that I had been working on in my garden. Here is one of them:
|Nicotiana in garden chez moi.|
|The Pond sketch on 9″ x 12″ watercolour paper. ( The paper is actually white)|
|Acrylic paint brushed into damp paper.|
It was an exciting weekend on many levels – wonderful to meet painters, wonderful to have such a positive response to my work, wonderful to create in such an inspiring setting. And, wonderful to earn some money too which was just as well because our house water situation was failing while I painted.
See you next year at Paint the Town!
|photo courtesy of Trish Fry, Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens.|