Red and Pink Roses. Oil on Panel, 7 X 9.5 Inches
This painting is up for auction until July 27th.
It’s always a challenge painting flowers.
And I’ll let you into a little secret that has been kept just between me and my morning journal for the last few weeks:
I’ve determined to become the best flower painter I can be. Which means I’m going to be painting quite a lot of flowers from here onwards.
Why did I make this decision? Well, I’m not sure myself that I understand all of it.
Flowers are certainly one of my favourite subjects. I love their delicacy, their symbolism, I love the challenge. For a long time, their fragility has seemed to me to be a metaphor for the very real fragility of my own life.
That realisation hit me hard when I became very ill about three years ago now, and had to stop work. Actually I had to stop everything, for quite a while.
It gave me a lot of time to think.
And when I began to recover, I was drawn even more to flower subjects. They have an added depth to me now, an emotional resonance that hits me whether it’s my own painting or someone else’s (assuming it’s one I love).
Every time I paint a flower now, it’s a reminder to myself of how grateful I am still to be here. That despite the struggles that we must inevitable go through in our lives, there is beauty too: A deep, rich and sustaining beauty that can touch our soul if we let it.
It requires some courage for that to happen. You have to open yourself to it. You leave yourself exposed and raw. Some people will not understand it. Some people, even those who you would expect to appreciate what you’re doing, will consider your work trite.
But it is absolutely worth it.
I made this painting over the space of four days. I’ve started woking more deliberately and slowly lately, to try to continually progress and get at least a little better at translating the fine nuances and subtleties of flowers into paint.
I think I did that this time. I don’t, always.
I streamed most of this painting live as I did it. Perhaps the greatest challenge was that the flowers died completely on day three. I used a photo reference at the end, whilst trying to keep within the decisions I’d already made at the start about the values, colours, the balance.
Here are the videos of each session. I’d intended to make a nice edited video for you of the process, but I’m afraid I just couldn’t find the time.
In lieu of that, I hope there will be something informative and useful for you here.
Best wishes and thanks for reading,
P.S. that tube of high chroma red in the picture is Naphthol Red from Michael Harding, the highest chroma red I know of in paint. I highly recommend you get some if you’re trying to paint red roses!
Here are the videos, warts and all: