Saturday, 31 May 2014


When something unexpected gets onto a photo, it might be an intruder, like this one:

petunia and intruder

I don't like spiders, though they have never actually done me any harm. The one on this flower is not even black and I didn't see it when I took the photo because I did not have my spider-detecting glasses on my nose.

I take photos of every flower and plant that comes into my apartment or grows on my loggia. It's a kind of compulsion, I suppose, but when I look again at the hundreds and hundreds of snapshots, I enjoy them all over again! They also form a valuable reference library for floral paintings, for example this one:

rose photo

rose painting - acrylics 2011-12
The angle of the flower in the painting is different and he leaves are improvised.
PS I found the actual model photo. Here's the demo video I made of painting it:

I started painting from the live model, but it started to rain so I took a photo and continued painting indoors. The rose gradually faded until its petals fell from the stem. I was glad of that photo.

I'll add one or two recent examples of this year's floral exhibits here and below the anemone paintings. The rose is now in full bloom. It's an old plant and would perhaps be happier in a garden, but it still seems to like my loggia:

rose (waiting to be painted!)

I haven't seen many peonies this year so I grabbed these white ones at the supermarket. the anemones are much more suitable for painting. I hope I can get some pink peonies before their season is over.

anemones in a glass vase
Renoir was one of very few painters who made anemones the main focus of dozens of flower paintings, though other painters through the centuries have added them to their opulent flower paintings.
Fabio Cembranelli has painted a delightful watercolour featuring them:

Below are two Renoirs. The first is very much in the traditional flower painting genre, while the second is obviously impressionist. Just type 'Renoir anemones' into a search engine and you will be richly rewarded!



Now I've seen those Renoir paintings again I will finish my own. Here's a quick shot of the unfinished painting, based on a number of photos I took. I haven't decided what to do about the vase. I really don't want to paint the complex cut glass of the original (I'm not sure I can!) so I may borrow one of Renoir's vases instead. Sorry about the flash photography.

anemones  latest  stage (oils)

And last night I discovered that I'd already taken steps to change the vase. It's months ago and the paint is dry, so I could really get on with it now. I think one of the problems was that the flowers were top-heavy. perched on the vase. I can see that now. It's a good idea to take a break from a painting if undecided about its future. I feel better about it now than I did two months ago, and I'm sure I shall try another anemone painting and benefit from the experience of this one, especially as regards the vase. Part of the problem is that the photos with the vase were taken from above while the painting is face on. The other problem was that I didn't think long enough about the design before starting. The sketch looked OK but the vase was too dominant so I added flowers, making the painting top-heavy. I suspect that I took a break because I was considering scrapping the whole project. And that's when I regretted using oil paints. With acrylic I would have gessoed the canvas and started again!

anemones sketch

anemones  later
The background is now a cool grey getting darker towards the bottom. I'll adjust it when I've painted a flat vase, maybe in copper shades.  That will be my next task. Then I'll photograph it outside!


More flower photos:



opulent hydrangea

ranuncula + anemonies

striped petunias 
The white ranunculas were a spectacular contrast to the anemones.
I think I'll take their vase for my painting!

Of course, anemones come in white, too!