Monday, July 30, 2007

Wildflowers - why I love them so...

Wildflowers and Dandelions 12"x9" oil on linen
private collection

Most people dismiss the simple beauty of a wildflower. But if you look closely, you'll discover a world of intricate detail, splendor, and magic in a bouquet of these flowers. Every day I try to capture this essence in my paintings, and I approach this concept in two ways. First, I believe painting small flowers on a large scale amplifies their quiet beauty. Second, I have found the practice of placing wildflowers in a lovely antique vase elevates the everyday to a sophisticated level of elegance.

The artists I admire most are Van Gogh and Sargent for their brushstrokes, Janet Fish for her perseverance, and the California Impressionists for their palette.

I prefer to paint in oil on a fine-grade Belgium linen, because its tight weave provides a consistent surface yet is strong enough to sustain reworking with a palette knife. The durability of oil on linen also guarantees my paintings will endure for centuries, which is important to me and my collectors.

The inspiration for my paintings comes from my garden, where I grow a wide variety of wildflowers. Sometimes my neighbors and friends also offer flowers from their gardens. I like to paint from live models, so my compositions are determined by the blooming schedules of peonies, dandelions, poppies, pussy willows, lilies, and violets, among others. I stretch my own canvases, framing a selection of my paintings in hand-carved frames. After I have arranged a still life, I sketch the basics of the composition in pencil directly on the canvas. I then apply paint where I believe the focus of the composition lies and build the painting outward from that point, working the entire canvas one layer of paint at a time. A painting can take weeks to complete, depending upon the size of the canvas.

Painting wildflowers is not only my passion but also a part of my life path, urging me to appreciate the beauty of the simplest aspects of nature. I hope my paintings convey this same message to my collectors. If so, I would consider my life's work a success.

Welcome Home

Welcome Home, oil on linen, 12"x9"