Monday, 10 September 2012

What to Paint?

It feels like an age since I studied the SBA diploma but during my studies I recall frequently complaining that there was nothing suitable to paint ...... of course that's absolute rubbish because there is always something to paint! For me it was just a mechanism to distract from getting on with the job in hand....and I'm still doing it!

With the exception of native plants which can pose numerous problems we really are very lucky with an abundance of available subjects to be found at the florists, garden centre, botanic gardens or even the supermarket and of course there are plenty of leaves, seeds, lichens and twigs to keep an artist going all winter.  Also being organised with work over the summer pays off in the long term because by collating good quality photographs and creating comprehensive sketch book studies enables works to be successfully finished off over winter.....well that's what I try to tell myself and what I try to do.
In an ideal world this all sounds very sensible and organised but in reality it's not quite so simple because it's not so much that there's a lack of things to paint but a lack of finding something inspiring to paint.  Added to this is the problem of ' what should I be painting' Sometimes I feel like I must paint the species and native plants to be a 'real' botanical artist but actually there's merit in painting just about anything you can get your hands on if it inspires don't need to feel guilty about it either (maybe that's just me!)

It's easy to become slightly bored with subject material and the technical challenges that botanical work poses can result in stagnation. I've had a bit of a shift in my work recently, although it's probably only noticable to me, and I have become more focused with movement, composition and the subtleties of warm and cool colours where light and shade is concerned. It's just another phase of the never ending learning curve and no doubt has a purpose that will all piece together in the long term. 
So with this in mind I'm painting some big 'blousy' flowers and pot plants ....just because I like them! ........ The most important thing is to keep painting and drawing.... it's the only way to learn!
Calla lily pot plants courtesey of the local supermarket. Note the odd double flower second from the left.
I painted this Calla lily on 300 lb Saunders Waterford HP paper. What an ordeal it was painting on a surface of something that can only be described as similar to the texture of sandpaper! won't be using that again. I was waiting for a delivery of  Fabriano Artistico, which is what I normally work on but decided to take a trip to the art shop and purchased a range of different papers to try, very interesting exercise with so much variation in colour and surface. Will post more later on my favourites and least favourites.