Monday, November 9, 2015

Old Orchid

Old Orchid, 11x14" oil, Diane Mannion

Growing Pains

This one was a struggle.  Wiped, scraped, redesigned and ready to give up several times!  But considered it a challenge to just finish the darn thing.  Kept remembering Qiang Huang's words... "Flowers can never be painted, only indicated."  

The more I rendered the less I liked them.  When I boldly pushed the paint around as I do while painting plein air, I liked them better.  So what happened was that by the time I reached one side, my style had changed and I ended up repainting the whole thing.

Started painting from life in the studio, here's the setup.  Thanks heavens I decided NOT to paint the lovely print on the fabric or I'd still be at it.
I've had this old orchid for at least ten years, fortunately it thrives on neglect.  Once a year it blooms from about Thanksgiving and lasts until Christmas.  As you can see, I had to do a lot of visual trimming to fit the big old thing into my small linen panel.
Worried about studio lights and air conditioning harming the plant, I moved it outside to paint in the healthy heat and humidity.

Here's a progression shot showing the agony of redesigning.  Actually played with it in Photoshop... foolishly thinking my white parakeet might look good flying into the plant.  Glad I rejected that idea! 
So why did I title this post Growing Pains?  I learned a lot about what NOT to paint.  Learned not to render too much, although I'm a fool for details.  And hope my next painting will grow from these painful lessons into the next great stage of my artistic development. 

2 comments: said...

I love the warm and cool colors and especially the warmer glow of your focus flower. Makes the pot fit right in.
Thanks for sharing the process of your struggle. It is so true that the more you know the ...Probably every stage of dissatisfaction was better than most artists can do on a good day. I remember when Qiang worked so hard on getting his leaves to where he liked them. Each time I thought they were fabulous... but HE didn't. Now he does and I remember being encouraged that an artist of his level still struggled but he worked through it.

Diane Mannion said...

Thanks, Julie. Every painting is a different kind of struggle, but if it always worked out, how boring would that be? It's the thrill of the game, growing pains, trying to reach higher standards. And the more we know the harder it gets... You just have to love the process and journey no matter what!