The woman ahead of me in the line at the grocery store bought three potted Easter lilies. She had to send her son to grab another one for a price check, “$3.99” the cashier confirmed. The pots were covered with layers of pink, and white polka dotted wrapping paper, ready for Easter gift-giving, except it was now after Easter, so they were on sale. On impulse I sent my son to pick one up as well, because it would be worth it even if I only got one painting done before killing it with my non-green thumb. This is the story of how I get all my houseplants… they have to appeal to me first as a painter.
I placed the plant on the table next to my easel, with the track light shining down on it to create some interesting lighting effects. Instead of photographing the Easter lilies to build up my digital image reference file, I jumped right into painting them from life.
I vaguely intended to do a fast, alla prima, plein air type painting, but due to the larger size of the canvas & the fact that my usual artistic practice consists of studio paintings developed over multiple sessions, I got carried away creating a more complex image.
I primed the canvas yellow-orange & then mixed a darker colour to draw in the basic structure with a bristle brush. I should have spent a little more time at that stage laying in all the leaves, but as often happens, I was impatient to start blocking in areas of colour. I payed for my impatience when I had to spend a second marathon day editing the composition, reworking the shape & direction of the leaves.
Gradually the painting progressed as I built up the illusion of depth and balanced the composition. I’m not sure how many days I spent on this painting- because I was going back & forth between it & another, but I think it was over the course of a week. I add this because people always want to know.
Late one night I decided to darken the edges, it added to the overall effect and pulled everything together.
Mar ’15 Edit – This painting has been in storage in my studio for some time, the orange and pink combination was bothering me, so I decided to play with the background. Here is the updated painting:
Mar 30 ’15 update – the brown was a nice colour, but still didn’t quite work for me, so eventually I landed on this lilac colour, and although it’s more girly than any other painting I’ve done (says the person who has painted flowers for years) … I’m quite happy with this version!
Some of you will no doubt prefer one of the previous versions, as we each have our own colour preferences, but for me this one works to unify all elements of the painting the best. The background colour is whimsical, like the wrapping paper, and this is the softest, most alluring iteration.
If you’re interested in this painting, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org