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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Flower Painting: Painting Irises

I noticed these dramatic irises when I was looking over my daughter's fence at her neighbor, Howard's, garden. Howard very kindly welcomed me to come over any time and paint in his back yard. I didn't have the luxury of taking my time. This was the end of the iris season.
10 x 8", Oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson (c)2014
Stage 1: The composition. Drawing the flowers with a thin wash of paint. I tried to take my time here so that my focus for the rest of the painting would be on color, values and brush strokes.
My set-up for this painting was quite simple. I borrowed a couple of plastic chairs from my daughter, Megan, put a blanket over Howard's nicer one so that I didn't get paint on it, and then set up my easel and palette. It was mid-day; the light was overhead and didn't change much.
Stage 2: Painting the flowers. I adjusted the chair with my easel so that I had a clear view of the flowers to the right of me.
Stage 3: Completing the flowers and background. I had less than a couple of hours to work on this painting and so there was little time to stop and take photos. It was hot. Spiders and ants kept crawling on me. I was having fun but was ready to be done. 
Every time I paint  plein air, as uncomfortable as it can be sometimes, I am always glad that I did it. There are so many things to learn when I paint outside, in natural light, with a clear plan and focus. If you haven't tried it, I hope that you do. Or, if you have but haven't gotten out yet this year, the time is now. It doesn't have to be with paint. Pencil and paper will do.

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