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Who paints dandelions?
I’d never really considered them as a subject for a painting before. In fact, I don’t think I’d ever really looked very closely at them before.
But one of the wonderful things about painting something is the time you have to spend with it.
You come close to your subject when you paint it. You start to understand it and you notice things that ordinarily would escape you.
If you’ve followed my posts recently or seen me stream live on facebook, you’re probably aware that I’m very interested in colour.
And as I spent some careful, slow time with these three dandelions, I learned that they are not, in fact, all one colour.
I can’t imagine now how I hadn’t noticed it before, but the little petals on the outside are almost green, whilst the centre is a rich golden yellow, much closer to orange-yellow.
And that, I think is the secret to painting them.
When I began this painting, I started the daffodil simply, as basic shapes, but paid a lot of attention to the colours of the lights and the shadows.
I’m finding more and more that simple beginnings lead to good endings.
By painting these flowers very simply at first, and then cutting into those simple shapes to bring out the petals, they took shape in a way that I couldn’t have achieved by attempting to paint each individual petal.
Here’s an edited down version of the live stream during which I painted them:
The painting actually took a little over an hour and half – it looks a lot faster in that video!
But the more slowly I paint, the better I get.
Increasingly these days, I spend most of my time at the beginning of a painting, carefully arranging the composition, the values, the colours and getting things in the right place.
I’m finding that as well as often making for a better finish, it means I have to paint much less.
I think that it may help to keep the feeling of freshness and immediacy that is a strength of alla prima painting, too.
I’ve also found that just because a flower is generally considered a weed, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good subject for a painting.
And in fact, when you look closely at them, dandelions are quite beautiful.
Best wishes and thanks for reading,
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