Wednesday, 09 January 2008
Sunflowers and striped trees
Dry spells in a Painter's life can be very troubling. I have had such a spell now for about 3 months. In desperation I bought myself a bunch of sunflowers, hoping that they would cheer me up and stimulate the creative juices once again.
The fact that they contain a lot of my favourite "opening colour" I hoped might also help.
It was with a sinking heart that I entered my studio yesterday and faced the mess I had left there last year. The urge to tidy it was overwhelming but I stuck to my resolve to paint, and set about setting up a still life to capture the sunflowers in their prime - faces open, petals erect. I grabbed a wide-necked vase and stuck them in, filled it up with water and found that the flowers stubbornly refused to stand up straight. After about half an hour of futile struggle I cut off the stems and finally found a view that I was satisfied with. Battling feelings of anger, frustration and fear, I tried hard to stay in the moment, and eventually began warming to the task. Two hours later, I had put the basic shapes down but the colour wasn't right. I decided to stop overnight and wait till the paint had dried a bit - I was working in wet oil which is difficult to work into without the colours becoming "muddy" - it was looking very muddy at this stage.
Luckily an artist friend of mine visited me this morning and made a few suggestions so I began again on it. I was feeling a bit bored with the background, when I happened to glance down and see a picture of my favourite artist staring up at me from the floor - a Hundertwasser poster of a tree. I usually don't copy form other artists but in this case I was so desperate for inspiration that I found myself copying his magnificent stripy tree into the background - this is the result (unfinished)