Posted by Maggie
I love flowers. In the summer, I have containers and hanging baskets of flowers all over the patio, and there are rosebushes and hollyhocks, wisteria and trumpet vines. I take pictures of flowers when traveling, and never miss a chance to visit a botanic garden.
But I almost never paint them, at least not up close. I've done a few pastel paintings where flowers were incorporated, but I've never painted a vase of flowers. Until now.
New Mexico Art League, Cynthia Rowland, paints wonderful flowers (and portraits, but I'm not going there yet!) in oils. Yesterday, she gave me a long lesson. I spent the day working on my painting, and could hardly sleep last night because I was eager to get back to it. Of course, since I had to wait for the sun to shine again, as I was using only natural light, it was pretty silly to lie awake thinking about it. But I was excited about the first day's work and looking forward to the next.
While painting in oils is not unfamiliar, changing both the subject and the medium was a push. It was just what I wanted, though, in order to break out of my normal patterns of painting.
Painting flowers from life had its challenges—when I went back to the studio this morning, one of the sunflowers had wilted and could not be coaxed back into position, so I had to revise the composition. I'm used to revising compositions in pastel, and was pleasantly surprised that I could make major changes in oil almost as easily. Next time, I'll remember to take a photo of my set-up in case I have a similar problem.
It's not perfect—I see quite a few things I'd like to change or would do differently if I started over—but in general, I'm very happy with my first attempt at a painting of flowers in oils. I can hardly wait until I can go buy more flowers and try another arrangement.
Sunflowers in Blue Vase, 14x11, oil, ©Maggie Price.