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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

New Still Life of Stargazer Lilies in Vase with other Nostalgic Objects

I received a bouquet of Oriental Stargazer Lilies for Valentine’s Day from my husband, he knew I loved these flowers from long ago and surprised me with them.  He is very sweet that way.  Their fragrance is intoxicating and they filled half the house with their scent for over a week. I set them on my kitchen table which is an oriental fish pot with a heavy beveled glass top.  The Irish lace curtains in the window allowed much filtered light to cascade in.  I had to paint them, so I looked for a few more items that I felt related to their color.  After I played with arranging the Fenton Glass candy dish and the Caribbean Queen Conch shell, I felt it needed more, so I added the Chintz plate under the vase.  They all appeared so old world like a kitchen from the past in Europe. Combining all these on a glass tabletop with sheer lace curtains was an eyeful to enjoy.  Only I had to do more than that being an artist, it had to be painted.  I wanted to paint a large 24x30 canvas, but I changed my mind knowing the flowers would not last more than a week.  I felt stressed to capture the flowers by painting them from life, the impulse was so strong, I just dived in one afternoon when the light was just right.  I could only work in a 2-1/2 hour time span each day because that`s when the sun hit this composition perfectly.  After that the sun would sink down below the rooftop of the next door neighbor`s house.  My kitchen dinette served as an art studio for one week while I enjoyed painting the Stargazers and the other lovely objects. Below is an image of the painting in it`s beginning stages in my kitchen dinette.  You can see how much light pours in on a sunny day, the camera overexposed the light a bit on the table.
I kept thinking about relationships of everything the whole time I painted it.  I was painting structurally at first.  Design relationships of shapes, of color notes, of unity, of reflections, of values, of linear direction and so on.  Then I thought about how I relate to each object, these were things I loved and probably things my grandmothers and their mothers would have loved.  So, there was a spiritual connection going on both inside and outside; how the objects stood alone as design elements. I refused to paint them pretty and all neat like because I am an impressionist artist and I have the preference to make an artistic statement not a realistic one.  Plus, I like to paint with a loaded paint brush, thick and gestural strokes.   This whole painting experience was like an exploration of visual textures, shapes of color, figure to ground relationships, movement, rhythm, depth reflections and color harmony. In the end I felt I was crazy to take on lace curtains behind all this matrix of flowers, a glass vase and tabletop, let alone the other objects.  The painting really possessed me for a week, I was constantly mesmerized by the compositional arrangement and how complex it was.  I had to simplify in an artful-beautiful way that would make these flowers last forever in my mind.  The lace curtains had to be an impression, not painted like a thing.  I wanted them to interweave with the flowers in a lower contrast, which was a challenge.  They were painted last after all the grid-like floral arrangement was painted in.  It turned out quite French in appearance, who knows maybe I had one of the French Impressionists invade my soul, like Camille Pissarro.  The link will take you to a painting of his from 1875 which is a vase of pink peonies.  I loved his simple, direct statement when painting still lifes.  I loved his organic choice of colors.  I have admired his works greatly, besides all the other famous French artists like Monet, Renoir, Degas, etc…  Or maybe it`s all the influence from visiting their works in museums and reading about each for decades.  Whatever the case is, artists place their influences from their life, family, experiences and studies into their art.  I never know how a work of art is going to turn out because I paint intuitively as the process evolves.
I like how this turned out and am feeling it needs to be kept as a family piece.   The next time I get a bouquet of flowers and paint it from this position, I will sell it.  Or if you have some highly regarded objects that you would like to commission me to paint, let me know. 

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