This time of year peonies are in abundance. They are one of my favourite flowers and the season for them is very short. They are so fluffy, full and smell amazing. Their usual colour is a lovely light creamy pink but this year I was given some wonderfully dark deep pink ones for my birthday which I couldn’t help but try and paint.
Peonies are so very beautiful but also so very hard to paint. Unlike most flowers that are quite obedient and don’t move much these can’t help but move all the time. Once they start to open they move so quickly in front of your eyes. If you start painting one when it is slightly open, by the time 4 hours is up they completely blown out and are a different shape and colour from when you started. You have to work so very quickly.
I found the dark pink peonies harder than the light pink peonies as the day I painted them was particularly hot which didn’t help matters. It helps if you keep your painting style loose and fluffy like the flowers themselves.
I’m pleased to say that within a day of putting the light pink peonies on my Etsy page I sold them to someone in Las Vegas! I’m really chuffed. Keep checking out my Etsy page (AlicesArtHouse) for more additions each week!
In the occasional classes I go to at an art school around the corner I was asked to bring in something that I could paint over 2 weeks. The usual subject matter for these classes are flowers, vegetables and fruit or whatever happens to be lying around.
I did what I was told and brought in some things what wouldn’t perish. I wasn’t too sure what to bring with me as I ran out of the door. I had thought a while ago about doing series of paintings of toys as something different and so grabbed some of my son’s American muscle cars as I love the wonderful colours with flames along the sides.
Hot wheels set up
When I produced the cars everyone thought I was mad. Totally mad. What a strange subject matter and how sweet that I wanted to do a painting for my son. I wasn’t doing a painting for my son – no! I thought a painting of Hotwheels would be rather cool and Pop Art.
After one week
After lining them up, with the odd one on its back, I realised that I WAS mad. I was totally mad. The difficulty struck me and I suddenly felt very depressed by not even knowing where to start! It was so important to get all the angles and the colours and perspective right. A nightmare! Thankfully I had my teacher to point me in the right direction.
The finished article
After two weeks I was quite pleased with it. My son on the other hand said it was a good effort but some attention to detail was lacking and that some of the curves were wrong. There is no pleasing some people!
It’s pretty cold out there, but there are definite signs of Spring which is really exciting. At last there is the light at the end of the tunnel of Winter and soon things will warm up. I’ve become so excited that I have been painting flowers non stop all week!
I find flowers very difficult to paint most of the time. Its so very hard as there is so much detail. The difficulty is to know where and when to simplify. It’s often best to squint your eyes to see what needs to be in detail and what not. Our eyes can find detail in so much of what we see yet most of us prefer paintings which aren’t always in focus throughout. It’s similar to when and where to lose edges and where and when to accentuate them.
‘Snowdrops’ – oil on board 10″x8″ – £65 from Alicesarthouse shop at Etsy
I tried an impressionist quick way with the snowdrops which has a blurry style which I probably like the most. For the other flowers I tried to concentrate on only parts of the flowers which I think works on the the large bunch of flowers rather than the smaller flowers. For the larger bunch of flowers I tried to use a larger brush throughout. It’s nice to try different things/styles/brushes etc.
Boiled Egg and Soldiers – oil on canvas 25cm x 30cm available at firstname.lastname@example.org
Well this week I geared myself up to doing a 3 hour still life painting using my new set up in my new studio. I was rather inspired by a still life that I did a few weeks ago of a raw egg on a plate so I decided to do a set up of something similar. I took the challenge of painting an egg, butter and some toast.
As I started, life felt great. The music was playing and the set up looked good. Mr T was nestled sweetly on the bed. It couldn’t have been better. After half an hour or so I needed to get something from downstairs very quickly.
As I opened the drawer downstairs in the kitchen I heard the most almighty crash upstairs. I ran upstairs to the studio to see what the matter was. I found Mr T scarpering in a panic. It was quite obvious that he had attempted to steal the butter and in doing so pulled all the still life onto the floor!
Over the last couple of weeks I have had a couple of exhibitions which I have been rather worried about. It feels like a big step to go out there to sell your work when you are so unsure of it in the first place. It’s hard as an artist I think to really believe in your work. It’s hard to see the good things. Instead we see all the mistakes and where we could improve.
I have been totally shocked and astounded by the way my work has been received over the last couple of weeks. I have had so much positive feed back and people have been so kind. It’s been quite a learning curve. Somehow its still so hard to believe that people like your work and want to buy it. It’s an amazing boost and helps me to realise that despite all the mistakes I see, someone else likes and enjoys them. Some of these paintings have been around my house for quite a while – I’m so excited and pleased that they have been sold, but I will also miss them.
Thank you very much for your support.
It has been such beautiful weather here in the UK for the last week or two. My mother really kindly invited me for a couple of days away in Suffolk where we could get on with some painting. I haven’t really been able to use my new art box much yet as its been a busy summer with cousins. With my son away we had plenty of time to paint. It was the first time I had ever painted plein air so the whole experience was pretty scary to begin with. There was a lovely graveyard nearby which we painted first. The light was lovely on the gravestones creating lovely shadows.
The second day was spent painting a typical view of the fields in Suffolk with wonderful grass in the foreground, stubble fields with bales and lovely trees and hedges. I decided to use really small canvasses as I really like small paintings at the moment. They are easy to place on bookshelves and great to put together as a montage on a wall. I had never painted this small before and wanted to give it a go. I was quite pleased with the result in the end. I’m feeling thoroughly inspired now by the countryside and every time I get in the car I’m finding great locations. If only I had more time. The art box was a brilliant buy too. I’m thrilled with it.