Sunday, 15 March 2009

Swanning Around


















Swan
© Teresa Kirkpatrick 2009

I've recently completed a couple of paintings which got me thinking about inspiration and ideas, and where they come from. This swan (of which I am inordinately proud) was painted from a photo taken over a year ago in the RHS Garden at Wisley. I had no intention of painting a swan; instead I did a less-than-successful depiction of some ducks on the ice of Harpenden Ponds. Although the painting didn't work, I discovered I enjoy painting birds - hence the swan. It's not like the photo in terms of colour - it was a grey day and I've rendered it in cobalt blue and raw sienna -but very like in form. And I've managed to paint water successfully at last!



















hyacinths
© Teresa Kirkpatrick 2009

This little picture, on the other hand, was painted from life. The tall bloom at the back had flopped, and is held up by a stick. I sketched and underpainted it in the morning and when I came back to it in the afternoon, not only had the light changed but the flower on the right had grown! Having got the hyacinths & bowl how I wanted them, on the spur of the moment I mixed my three colours (cobalt blue, alizarin crimson and indian yellow) into a neutral beige and crudely overpainted the background - which had originally been pale yellow) - with a large flat brush. I like to think that not painting right up to the edges of the flowers has given them a backlit effect. I could pretend that I intended the horizontal strokes on the background to be a counterpoint to the vertical thrust of the flowers but, like a lot of my work, that's a happy accident . . .

I like the immediacy of this painting, but what you gain in vibrancy you lose in composition. I soon realised it was too close to the top of the paper (and slightly to the left) but having started, I didn't want to stop. Oh well!

4 comments:

  1. This is a really interesting blog - must be especially useful for novice/aspiring artists. I think the swan picture has reproduced wonderfully well - you get a real sense of the quality of the original ! By the way I think the Harpenden Ponds picture was a lot more successful than you're letting on....! x

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  2. glad you like it - I'd like to think people would find it interesting, but I don't think anyone else is reading it regularly at the moment! x

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  3. I love that swan picture and the fact that you can produce so much tone from such a small palette. The whole painting works really well and feels really... well... peaceful.

    Naughty Hyacinth, growing while you were trying to paint it!

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  4. Just as well I painted the hyacinth when I did - by the next day all the blooms had flopped. It's great exercise in painting quickly!

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