Friday, May 22, 2009

Waratahs Paintings

Hi There from a rainy Sydney, where it is seeming rather monsoonal !

I recently finished a lovely red waratahs painting, in oils on canvas.  Waratahs are one of my favorite Aussie native flowers and they are spring September, which makes them a favorite birthday flower.  The flower is one of two I photographed last September.  One of my neighbours, Vera, had some gorgeous waratah flowers blooming in her front garden and invited me to photograph them.  I did not paint from one of those pictures, but I got a few stems of waratah flowers at my florist and did a photo shoot using my (at the time) new DSLR camera.  I think I took over 200 photos in various light and settings.   The best shots were photographed in front of sheer white curtains, which filtered the light and worked out quite well.  I kept about a dozen images and I printed the one I decided to paint.  

I actually painted two waratahs together late last year, and finished that painting in December.  In oils on canvas.  Done in a 90 x 122 cm size, so pretty big.  After painting this, my 
decorator Kellie Murray was over to help me with some of the concept work for the kitchen reno we were starting.  And this big painting of Spring Waratahs shown below just about jumped onto the kitchen wall where it wanted to be !  Very funny how that happens (artwork often chooses where it wants to be in my home).  Anyway, we did  end up putting it in the kitchen, where it looks awesome and visually fills the space with very uplifting color and energy.  Goes great with a red kitchenaid mixer and a midtone pink dualit toaster ;) So a good choice.

After deciding to keep the big waratahs painting, I decided to paint the single one shown at top of this post.  A lot of people had seen the big one while in progress and really loved the colors and the painting, even before I got it done.  So I did another of the smaller flower on the right of that composition, and put it on a long tall canvas.  A lot of the aspects are similar,
 particularly the colors.  I really enjoyed working with all the reds and pinks, one of my favorite reds in there is a Rose Madder, which is an expensive pigment, but so gorgeous to use ! I also used a lot of Geranium Lake, and some Cad Red Medium, and Alizarin.  To make some of the pinks, I added white and to get the darker shadowed areas I neutralised the reds with their complements, Sap Green, or Viridian, depending on the particular red hue.  In the painting, I built up some good texture using the oil paint. Here is a close up of some of the colors and textures used in that, just to the right.  I used a paint brush for the flower portions, putting the paint on thickly.  

Then for the leaves I also used a painting knife, which is great fun with oil paint.  These flowers and leaves do have some light shining on them, so I needed to capture the areas in the light with a lot more white.  And for the shadowed parts, I neutralised deep greens with their red complement to make an almost black color with some warmth to it in some areas.

For the background I used a painting knife and also a large bristle brush, to create a textured background with more rose colors in the lower right side and more pale green at top left.

More next post, have a good Friday :)  I will be taking my umby along with me today !

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