Monday 4 April 2016

Peony - exploring the complexity

Work in progress - Damask Peony 

During the last few weeks I've been working on a few paintings and have used the same technique to transfer my original drawing to the canvas. This post Magnolia Diptych- tracking the process is where I discuss the technique.

Northside Flower Market in my area has the most enticing Instagram profile - it's loaded with stunning images of flowers. A few months ago, the exotic Peony was featured. I woke up a little late this year as the season was almost at an end. The first blooms I bought were deep magenta and the very last bunch of the season was this beautiful pink. The flower is extremely complex, with petal folded upon petal. In our hot climate the blooms don't last as long as they might in a cooler part of the world so I took a lot of photographs. Then I did a number of very loose quick sketches as well as some more detailed careful drawings. 
My local Officeworks was the next place to visit where I had a large copy made of my original drawing. The plan print size is largest and for a few dollars you have a large copy of the drawing A0 - 841 mm x 1189 mm. This is so much easier than using a grid to enlarge the image. Once work was started on the flower, centrally and symmetrically placed, I decided to add the damask motif by means of a stencil. This allowed me to add new colours and provide a background to the central flower. 

As I worked slowly to develop the petals quite a lot of the drawing surrounding the painted area remained. The more I looked at the work in progress the more I liked the drawing contrasting with the petals rendered in a realistic manner. Sometimes every  "T" doesn't need to be crossed. I have therefore left many of these sketchy lines in the final painting.

 Damask Peony – oil on canvas 765mm x 765mm

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