I started work on the next ‘Daisy’ painting in my imagined series almost immediately after finishing the previous one entitled, ‘Birthday Flowers’. This time exploring the potential of pink on green. I’ve also been experimenting with achieving different lighting effects within each composition through colour and texture. Using strong complementary colour contrasts such as hot pink against a pale green background, or bright yellow/orange against dark blue,  creates a very effective illusion of depth in a painting. With the sunflowers and the asters I wanted to create the illusion that they had been backlit. The orange calendulas pretty much created their own light by virtue of their stark contrast against the very dark background. Creating lighting illusions in two dimensions is fascinating stuff, especially when you add texture into the mix – I suppose then, it’s not really two dimensional anymore, is it?

Oil paint is an interesting beast, especially when applied thickly onto a surface. Changing the texture changes the way that ambient light interacts with the painted surface, and so a painting can look remarkably different depending on the time of day and the type of light source, as I will now demonstrate – click on the galleries below:

I took a picture of my pink asters late last night under lamplight and then another picture this morning under the diffused daylight from my studio window. Which is the truer painting?

Who knows?

It’s a dilemma I face, especially when I’ve been working on more detailed paintings where

Work in progress. Oil on canvas, 20 x 16 in.

I’m trying to create exact colours on the canvas. My Venetian Fruit Cart painting is one such piece that I can only work on during the day if I hope to get my colours right – I just don’t have adequate overhead lighting in my studio to do this kind of detailed work in the evenings, nor the eyesight! I can only imagine how the old Masters must have felt when working by candlelight, which I’m sure a number of them did from time to time – as a painter, you are likely to achieve an altogether different kind of painting depending on your lighting arrangements! I suppose if it works in all kinds of light, then you know you’ve done a good job, right?

Of course, because I’ve been painting a lot lately my dreams tend to be full of painting ideas. Last night I was walking around a gallery of student’s work and spotted a couple of paintings that looked ever so familiar. Ideas that have been floating around in my head for a while already, but took full form and colour in my dream. It was kinda cool. So, now that I have these versions firmly imprinted in my mind, I might as well try to paint at least one of them. It’s actually an idea based on a pencil drawing I did as a young child which took pride of place on the school display board for a week – the school never did give it back to me. I’ve been wondering the past few days if I could reproduce it in colour and I suppose my dreaming brain ran with it. I refuse to call it my ‘Subconscious’, in fact, don’t even get me started on that one!

Anyway, as ever watch this space!

Enjoy the rest of your week, All!


8 thoughts on “Flower Painting Series – Pink Asters

        1. Ooh, that’s lovely!

          I’ve been trying to figure out for a while now how Van Gogh produced his very unique painting technique. Thick brush strokes of paint in these wonderful swirling patterns – it’s harder than you think, if you’re just trying to guess at it.
          I was working on one of my other paintings and managed to reproduce a similar looking brush stroke purely by accident. But it was one of those eureka moments, because the realisation of how he must have done it was so beautifully simple, and at the same time quite clever. So, I now have a Van Gogh-styled moon and partial sky in one of my paintings. I’m quite keen though to do a whole painting in that style – I think it would be fun.

          As for the gorgeous image you sent me, above: You need to pre-paint the canvas in black, and with a very stiff hog hair brush (probably flat), you need to apply quite dry paint, as in, not mixed with any painting medium, and you need to apply it in quite deliberate short strokes. Thick paint tends to sit quite nicely on top of things without getting muddy. It means you can dip the brush in quite a few colours on your palette, so when you apply it to your painting surface and put a little bit of pressure on it, you should get a nice marbling of all the different colours. If you only touch the brush lightly to the canvas, then only the uppermost paint layer will be applied. It’s a fun technique to play with. 🙂

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          1. Oooooo, dry paint! I’d never thought about that, but you’re right. When I do my scraping paintings I really enjoy letting them sit for days, then attack them again, popping semi-dried bubbles. The effect is great.

            Tell me you studied painting? Or are you some species of painting savant?

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            1. Ha! Well, I’ve been creating art and painting since I was a little kid – mostly self-taught. Though, I hadn’t really practised or studied oil painting prior to last September, so, you tell me? 🙂
              I’ve studied other people’s oil paintings for years and tend to have quite a good memory for technique. I just assume it’s all gone in there somewhere and is now coming out on the canvas. Maybe I’ve been unconsciously channelling these old painters! That would be a trip!

              But yes, dry paint is the key. Painting mediums are only good if you want to paint thin glazes, they just make everything far too fluid and messy.

              Your scraping technique sounds interesting.

              I mostly just try stuff out and see what works and what doesn’t. The mosaic effect I achieved on the pink aster painting I managed to do without having to apply too much paint. I was working wet-on-wet, although the background had the best part of a day to dry, so it was tacky to the touch which meant it would blend with the paint on the brush with a little bit of pressure, or just let the paint sit on top if I applied it lightly.

              I’ve been watching a ton of oil painting videos and tutorials on YouTube almost religiously for the past year too, so I suppose you could say I’ve been taking tuition from some of the best currently out there. YouTube is a goldmine for that kind of stuff, and you can learn an awful lot about oil painting techniques.

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  1. You are such an amazing artist let me tell you. It’s so nice to see and read your painting and your blog. I have started writing about my painting project as well. If you can, please have a look – artprojects4.art.blog


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