I am not sure if to call this an orange or peach ixora, but next to red, it is probably the most popular colour of ixora flowers I’ve seen in St. Lucia. The colour (in combination with the inevitable greens and blues) just seems to convey a sunny, bright, happy mood.
There is also a yellow version, and pink – but that is a simplification, the range is even wider, with shades of each hue. There are a number of varieties available in the Tropics, it is quite common, often used in hedges.
If you live in the Caribbean, you probably have them growing somewhere in your garden, and if you’ve ever vacationed in the Caribbean, you’ve probably got a cluster of these tiny flowers somewhere in your photos (maybe in your pool-side selfie!).
I’ve only painted this subject once before, and in fact I love the painting (Red Ixora) so much, I’ve kept it as my profile photo on my Facebook page for …. more than 2 years (Whaaat?)!
Anyway, I posted a WIP detail of this small painting on Instagram some time back, but this is the first time I’m sharing the whole thing. It would make a lovely Mother’s Day gift for someone.
Mother’s Day celebrations
I am also finishing up another floral painting, for a Spring exhibition at Gallery2Art in Burlington Canada. I will deliver it tomorrow, and it will be up for their Mother’s Day Tea on May 7th.
And in St. Lucia, I have several paintings in the Arts Village May 2-4 which is part of the 25th annual St. Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival.
Wherever you are, I hope you will have a Happy (art-filled) Mother’s Day!
A couple weeks ago, I sent out my monthly (ish) newsletter, with an image of this frangipani painting … as it was then. There were one or two things that kept catching my eye however, so I ended up going back in and making some changes.
That can be such a slippery slope.
How to spot the mistakes
When you paint the way I do – not just doing a drawing & colouring it in, but blocking in colour intuitively & building up the image in layers, pushing and pulling and continuously refining the details – it can be harder to see what you have left to do.
This painting actually started as an abstract, but then I changed my mind, added a few glazes to turn it into a background and started adding frangipani flowers.
It can be difficult to know/decide when a painting is done.
You do get better at this with practice. However, it is always possible to “overwork” a painting. You fiddle around, second guessing your choices, and before you know it the painting has lost its energy.
Then you’re faced with a choice. You can either scrap the painting, gesso over it and start again, with more confident strokes, OR you can push forward. If you persist, you might be able to come out the other side with something even more wonderful than you’d first imagined.
But, you have to be willing to sacrifice certain areas that you liked, because if you hold on to them, treat them like they’re precious, the painting won’t flow, the image won’t come together as a whole.
I’ve developed a habit of photographing my work as I go along, not so much for sharing WIP images, as for me to get a different perspective on the painting.
We artists have several different ways of doing this, I think the most instinctual is to just take a few steps back … then maybe a few more.
When we’re in the act of painting, we are up close – literally painting the bark on each tree – and stepping back allows us to see the whole picture, the whole forest.
After looking at the same image for a long time, we can actually miss certain things that are obvious to a fresh set of eyes, either our own (by putting the painting away for a few days and pulling it out again), or those of an artist friend.
Another trick would be to look at the painting in a mirror, or to look at it upside down, sometimes both!
It sounds funny, but if you squint at the painting, you won’t be so caught up in the details, but can evaluate the values. I have even on occasion photographed a painting and looked at it in black and white, to see if any mistakes jump out.
Sometimes, you keep tweaking a painting, until you realize that you’ve pretty much painted a new version of the same thing. Different, but not necessarily better.
Or maybe even, you look back at the earlier version, and it does not actually look as bad as you thought. Or maybe there are bits of each version that you want to keep.
How to get it wrong, the more you try to get it right
This is where perfectionism comes in.
Many wonderful works of art would not exist if it were not for the artist’s attention to detail and obsessive focus.
But the process can be quite unhealthy for the artist who skips meals, sleep, hygiene, a social life and more in pursuit of their vision.
Excuse me for a moment … I really should go grab some lunch!
Ah, that’s so much better. Now where was I? Yes. Pushing through perfectionism.
How life is like a (frangipani) flower
If I were to try to paint the perfect frangipani flower, it would be symmetrical, each petal fresh and exactly the same as the last. An ideal.
However, if you spend any time really looking at a bunch of frangipani flowers (or any other flowers), you would realize that there are always imperfections.
One flower of the bunch is still opening out while another starts to fade, its edges browning. One’s petals have insect bites while another’s are torn from the movement of branches rubbing against it in the wind.
Reality is not “ideal”. A single flower might be perfect when photographed/painted in full bloom. But perfection is fleeting, and therefore not a worthwhile pursuit in of itself.
The wild, overgrown garden, often bears exciting visual images that you won’t find in the well groomed one.
If you live in Hamilton & surrounding area, then come join me at the wine & cheese art opening tomorrow night at McMaster Innovation Park!
This is the 17th juried exhibition put on by MIP, and several of the artists I know have participated before, and they’ve encouraged me to enter. So, I did, and I’m excited to see the following 2 paintings on display tomorrow, along with a great selection of art by a variety of local artists.
If you’d like some fresh art to enliven your home, or workplace for Spring … come take a look at the selection available!
This was the first painting I did in this set of 3, but all are inspired by the same photograph that I took of some torch ginger lilies on my recent trip to the Caribbean. They can be purchased and/or hung individually, or as a grouping.
My collection of reference photos has probably grown too large … it takes a long time to choose something to paint!
I’m thinking of heliconia next though … what do you think?
Yes. I am that crazy. They say if you need something done, give it to a busy person to do … and I know that to be true. So, at a time when I am completely overwhelmed by how much I have on my plate, I’ve signed up to do Leslie Saeta’s 30 paintings in 30 days challenge again this year – along with over 800 other artists from all over the world.
Admittedly, it is a form of escapism. Self-medicating with art therapy, meditation, however you think of it, there is something about the act of painting that centers a person. It forces you to be in the moment, and the more you give in to your instincts, trust your intuition, the easier the work flows out of you. And you are changed by the process. Art is my mood-altering drug of choice.
After a fantastic 5 week working vacation to the Caribbean, my return home has not been an easy transition. It felt as if a giant baby picked up my house, shook it like a rattle & then put it back down. It seemed everything was in the wrong place, and it’s taken me almost 2 weeks to get a handle on it.
Some of this is our own doing – a make-over for my son’s bedroom – and some of it is due to a freak flood that happened in our area (2 months worth of rain in 3hrs), which seeped into our basement. We have to replace the flooring, and I’ve had to empty my office/storage room and slowly but surely I’m purging through paperwork etc. that has accumulated over the years. Two of the items I unearthed were a calender from 1993 – the year I started University – and a vinyl sign (Aquavisions by Donna Gomez) from my first solo exhibition in 1996.
It will take time to go through, there is a large portfolio of older drawings that got partially wet & has some mildew. I’d like to photograph the drawings before getting rid of them, and each one is charged with nostalgia. I am considering turning this into a little art project.
As I look forward to other things coming up this month, I realize it would be easy for the weeks & months to zip by before I get back to a more consistent painting routine. So, instead of waiting till the chaos is over, I’m going to accept this as the new normal. And I’m going to balance the chaos with creativity.
This painting of torch ginger lilies is one of a trio of small paintings I just completed. They may be purchased individually or as a group. I will post one a day, I just wanted to get a couple days ahead of the challenge so that there isn’t too much pressure to produce. And this may be the longest blog post for some time, most days I will probably just post the image & details.
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In 2014 I had some blank 5″x7″ greeting cards made of 5 of my Original Acrylic Paintings for an event. I wanted fans of my art to be able to walk away from my exhibition with the feeling that they were taking a little piece of it home with them.
Then, I offered a percentage of card sales to my sons’ school as part of their recent fundraising BBQ.
I posted this photo on Facebook & a friend in New York ordered a set, then someone else from New York (maybe her friend) e-mailed me to order another set. After a few online orders, I also started sending them to St. Lucia, where they are sold through Island Mix, and a couple hotel boutiques.
As an artist though, and not a big card company, I have only printed the cards in small batches. My main focus with them is to share my art with more people, and to gain exposure to potential collectors for my original paintings.
Give a set of Donna Grandin Art Cards to your kids’ teachers and coaches. They make great hostess, or thank you gifts. Use the cards for birthdays, thank you’s, get well’s, Mother’s or Father’s Day, or just because – it’s always good to have a few blank ones on hand for emergencies.
Some people even like to put them in photo frames, and place them where they can brighten up their day, or tuck them into favourite books as inspiration!
Do you want to partner with me for your Fundraiser (a percentage of card sales goes to your charity)?
Or maybe you would like to become a Retailer for my art cards? If so, I’d love to hear from you!
One set of 5 blank greeting cards with white envelopes (no box), including shipping & handling, is $23. to anywhere in Canada, $24. to US, and $27. International. Prices in Canadian dollars.
BLUE ROOTS ART STUDIO – acrylic paintings of Caribbean & Canadian landscape, flowers & foliage. Burlington, ON, Canada. 905-639-3419