A SOUTHERN ARTIST AND HER GARDEN
As a southern artist, I am inspired by a good southern garden. Just four years ago, I worked with Dabney Peeples of JDP Design for our third time designing an old fashioned garden with a touch of “faded elegance.” The garden plan was much like a good painting, we wanted strong structure with an abstract impressionist finish. We wanted our new home to blend in with our old neighborhood and the Southern plants such as boxwoods, hydrangeas, camellias, osmanthus, hellebores and peonies to bring everything together. All the flowers and plants were key to the creation.
As winter transitions to spring, color begins to peek through the landscape. Although winter is not quite over, the structure of the garden softens with blooms of Camellias, Quince and Edgeworthia. And just like the garden, my creativity in the studio is ready to move into spring. I am ready to awaken and shift my process toward clear colors with fresh paint.
I have always liked a good thorny Quince but this year, several bushes on my daily route have been particularly inspiring. This year, I spotted a beautiful salmon bush in an old garden that belongs to a neighbor. After getting permission, clippers in hand, I walked to trim a few branches.
SOUTHERN ARTIST MEETS SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY WITH SHARING OF PLANTS IN THE GARDEN
Quince buds on the branch are just a tease for the flowers that pop out once they are “forced” in a warm environment. Once in a vase of water, flowers multiply and slowly as they open and fade, the bright green leaves pop out.
Arching quince branches are inspiring and create great interest as a composition. I decided to work on several paintings of the same arrangement at the same time. Different versions of the same still life. The magnificent blooms did not disappoint.
VERSIONS OF THE SAME PAINTING WITH DIFFERENT PROCESSES
My process with each painting was very different even though the still life was the same for each one. With the first painting I made some anchoring lines to determine the intersections of the composition. Developing the form and the shadows simultaneously advanced the painting so that the vase and arching stems were clear. First, I painted the branches creating the crooked joints. Then I painted, with my handy round brush, the suggestions of the salmon flowers that were popping out one by one as I was painting. I love a painting that is finished without every inch of the canvas being covered. I made an artistic decision that this Quince in Turquse was finished with only a hint of the white covered table it sat on.
In the second painting, I added more surface to the table and decided that a square canvas would strengthen the aura of the branches
filling the space. After the first light and airy painting, this version would work towards more depth with the oil paint. The third painting was going to feature just the branches creating a more contemporary painting. Like many of my paintings, the background was developed in conjunction with the subject blending form and lines with palette knife. Read more about my various processes here.
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