First Spring Daffodils, oil on panel, 7 x 5 inches
Currently at auction until 29th February, 2020
When spring comes to this part of the Cotswolds, the landscape is transformed.
There are two flowers that are responsible for this change, daffodils and oxlips. I love them both, they’ve come to mean spring to me since we moved to this lovely part of the countryside.
I’ve been itching to paint some since I spotted the first one a few days ago.
Usually, I’d pick two or three and paint them as individual flowers. But I had in mind that I wanted to make a joyfull little painting for my first “spring” painting this year. I wanted to fill the panel with them.
I was pretty sure it was going to prove to be beyond my skill to do, I was pretty sure I’d fail.
But by trying to approach them as a single entity at the beginning, as a large yellow ball, I think I found a way in. And I think I may have found a way to paint bigger bunches of flowers that works for me.
I streamed the start of this painting live, and you can hear my lack of confidence at the beginning.
I worked very, very slowly, trying to consider every brush stroke and thinking very carefuly about the relative values of each area of the painting, constantly relating the parts to the whole.
To the extent that this little painting has worked, I think that’s why. I’m always telling myself to work more slowly, particularly at the start of a painting.
But it’s hard! That’s the very stage I want to push ahead and get as much done as I can quickly, to see if it will work or not.
And when I do that, it often doesn’t.
So if I have any advice for you today, it’s to work very slowly and carefuly at the start, even if it means the painting looks wrong for longer than usual.
Don’t try to paint anything to look like something. Think about the basics. Positioning, accuracy, relationships between values, the chroma and hue.
Spend more time on those right at the start, and there’s a good chance you’ll come out with a stronger result.
I know this painting looks energetic and perhaps even expressive, but its actually the result of very slow and careful placement – more so than most of my more “finished” pieces that have more carefully rendered forms of flowers.
You can see how carefully I started in this replay of the stream – if you have the patience to watch for an hour or so before anything really starts appearing on the panel. I’m not sure I would have!
We had snow on the day I finishied this paiting, the second session. I’m hoping these little beautiful little expressions of the beginning of spring, the daffodils and the oxlips, will make it through ok, because I want to paint many more of them.
Best wishes and thanks for reading,
P.S. The sound is very distorted for the first few minutes of the stream, just fast forward a little and it clears up.
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