After some months of planning, friends had just arrived from the USA and another friend from the other end of New Zealand. We intended doing some plein air work somewhere around Glenorchy and I had been looking forward to it.
I had also been skiting about the great weather we had been having so, as you can guess, the weather packed up with several flat grey days, one after another!
Not to be discouraged, we headed for an old ramshackle building that
we knew had some good angles.
I don't really understand why but while Scott and Richard chose their subjects, set up their easels, and got into painting, I roamed around the building trying to get excited enough to paint!
Finally, in desperation, I decided to pick on one bunch of flowers on a rhododendron tree that was growing against the building. By using that small part of our surroundings, I was able to concentrate on the one thing that I found stimulating – its beautíful colour.
Sure, I still had to consider the usual things that make a good painting – the design, where was I going to place my focal point, the use of lights and darks, the intensity of the colours, etc., but at least I was getting excited!!
I know that many people think that flower paintings are 'old hat', just another cliche! It's a worry too that a large flower study may be slow to sell - and I'm supposed to be earning an income from my work!
On the other hand, I believe that we painters should be expressing how we feel - something from the heart. After that small study, I now love the colour of those flowers. And for that matter, I've always enjoyed painting that old earthenware pot my wife gave me. So......forgetting about the practicalities, I decided to paint something I haven't done for years - a vase of flowers - perhaps the beginnings of a series.
What am I trying to say in this blog?
( 1 ) For me, it is so important that I am enthusiastic about my subject. I often find myself washing off partway through a picture if I start without some enthusiasm. Let's face it, it's hard to paint well if you don't feel like it!
( 2 ) When I've found a subject I like, I paint with the possibilities of a theme in mind because it helps me to progress to my next painting. The ideas begin to flow more easily.
( 3 ) I suspect that smaller studies around a theme are a good idea for many painters that struggle to get started (and I know from my painting classes that many do ). Even little colour roughs can do the job. Much less daunting than some huge panorama that's been 'on hold'.
I just hope my renewed enthusiasm is showing!