Thursday, June 16, 2011

Peonies from the Garden

oil painting on linen, 11x14 inches
copyright 2011 MaryAnn Cleary

This painting is of peonies cut from my garden. Since the weather has been rainy, I opted to paint this one outside on my deck in the screened-in area...protected from mosquitoes. Well, almost. There are always a couple of them who seem to find their way into the protected area. One even managed to get stuck in the painting. Mosquitoes are tough little buggers. I wanted to get a picture of this one, but by the time I got back with my camera, the little tough guy had escaped....coated in green paint to whereabouts unknown.

For me, peonies are one of the more difficult flowers to paint. The background used is the green trees and foilage from my yard. A nice backdrop that makes this painting a red-green color combination. However, it also is one of the more difficult combinations to photograph accurately. I photographed this one using RAW and JPG. I then adjusted the RAW image to get accurate as possible to the true colors.

Peonies are such a short lived flower. Most years if I am gone for any period of time, I totally miss seeing them bloom. Thankfully, this year I am busy at home and I am enjoying all the spring flowers.

Last week while I spent time at the Trail Center painting, I seemed to have difficulty getting things to work for my paintings. Coming home, I totally felt frustrated by it all. When this happens, I like to re-think my approach to painting, read about other artists, and look through some of my books.

Like magic, I realized that I had forgotten to do one of the basic tricks to painting from life. Squint. Squinting helps the mind focus on shapes and not all the details. With peonies, I remembered to squint. To keep to the basics.

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