Oil on Canvas – 2012
30 x 40
Every now and then I take a photo that just begs to be painted. No matter what I do, the little voice inside my head insists that it needs to be done. I can try to ignore it…but it just niggles at me constantly. “Paint this one. Go on, just do it.”
My answer is often “No chance…are you crazy? Have you seen the detail?”
Hmmm….’Vintaged Roses’, you spoke to me. You got stuck inside my head like a dictaphone stuck on playback. You held your ground for nearly 5 months…paint me, paint me.
I thank you. You are one of the best paintings I have ever done. No, I take that back. You are the best painting I have ever painted. I don’t know why, you just work.
I clearly remember the day this all started. My one remaining Iceberg Rose bush (we killed off the other three one summer when we went on holiday without checking that the reticulation was working) was in full, glorious bloom. Pruning time was fast approaching and I knew an imminent storm would completely decimate all the beautiful roses…if I didn’t chop it to pieces first. I don’t normally bring the Iceberg Rose inside as a cut flower as it drops so quickly, but given the stormy weather and June pruning approaching, I was happy to take my chances.
I cut a huge armful, stuck it in one of my favourite white jugs, popped it on the console table and snapped away. Canon 450D, 50mm, f.1/4, ISO 200, aperture priority (which is weird as I usually shoot in manual) I must have been fiddling around with my settings, given the lower ISO and the AV setting …or maybe it was that darned little voice again telling me what to do…anyway it worked.
It was photo 150 for my 365 project, with the quote “I’d rather have roses on my table, than diamonds on my neck.” Maybe I should rewrite the quote to “I’d rather have roses in a painting than roses on a bush.”
Anyway…3 weeks ago I started this beauty. My entry for “The City of South Perth Emerging Artist Award” which is due later this week. Yep, cutting it fine I know, but life’s like that sometimes!
It was a challenging, demanding, incredibly rewarding painting to create. I loved working in a very mono chromatic palette, with just a few touches of yellow for the stamens. I made a warm black, a 3/1/1 recipe using ‘Crimson’, ‘French Ultramarine’ and ‘Viridian Green’ then adding a touch of ‘Burnt Sienna for warmth. The most important part of the whole painting, because of the limited palette, was to get the tonal values correct. With the light flooding the left side of the roses and the shadows being so heavy on the right , it was important to get it correct from the start. I started at the far right of the flowers and slowly, painstakingly made my way around to the left…then started all over again adding in more detail and tidying up.
It’s barely touch dry but at the framers already…and that my friends, is worthy of another blog post about decision-making!! It took me two days and a sleepless night to choose between two beautiful, perfect frames for this piece. I even posted the two choices on Facebook thinking there would be a clear-cut decision between the two. One was ornate, matt black; the other vintaged black and gold. The votes came in at a tie. Not helpful people!!
I went with the safest option in the end, the vintaged black and gold…I will post a photo when I get it back.
So, it’s with my paintbrushes crossed that I enter ‘The Emerging Artist Award”. Who knows what makes a winning painting? All I can do is choose images that speak to me… LOUDLY and then paint them to the best of my ability. Lets just hope that little voice that gets stuck in my head sneaks off and speaks to the judges!