Thursday, December 18, 2014

Stick Tight to me, Baby!

Stick Tight to me Baby!
acrylic on gessoed masonite
11x14 inches

This blog is to introduce my last painting for 2014.....Stick Tight to me, Baby. (This title is supposed to be delivered in a Jerry Lee Lewis voice.)

All during the spring/summer I took photos of just about every flower we had in the yard/fields. I became fascinated by the range of luscious colours to be found in flowers, great and small.

These stick tight flower blooms grow all along a ridged stem. Both the flowers, buds and stem are covered in microscopic hairs. Those microscopic hairs make the stem, buds and resulting seed head “stick tight” to anything or anyone that brushes against them. This transfers the seeds to animals which in turn spread stick tights far and wide. The tiny flowers are maybe a quarter inch, but are bursting with lovely colours. They start out pink and move to lavender then, of all things, blue right before they wither and fall off. They leave behind a pod that contains a triangular seed.

I started out with the background. I wanted a simple but dramatic background, so I decided to glaze multiple layers of cobalt and pthalo blue in a simple pattern. I used an old illustrator trick of masking off the stem and flowers with frisket, then painting on the glazed background with a sponge roller brush.

After all was dry, I peeled off the frisket and began painting the stem and blooms.

For a while I have been drooling over the loverly alla prima paintings that my friend Connie McClennan does, and wanting to work in that style. I can't seem to let go of my glazing style entirely........but I can pair the two styles. So I began to paint the delicately colored blooms in a more painterly style. Using the paint a bit heavier than I usually do, I painted the lovely mix of colours on the painting itself, rather than mixing colours on the palette.

I continued to work on the blooms, from the bottom up to the top buds. I followed the pattern of light and dark I'd laid down in my first pass at painting the blooms. You can see I've done the first three blooms on the left......detailing the petals and even the drops of dew. The surface tension of the teensy tiny dew drops seems to hold even better on the microscopic hairs of the stem.

I had a blast working on this painting, especially playing with the subtle colours of the paint, and working alla prima with the acrylic paints themselves.

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