Immediate Gratification


Gladiolas, 12" x 24", oil on panel

Well maybe not immediate, but it sounds good. What I’m referring to is the relationship between my painting and my garden. Sometimes when things bloom I need to stop what I’m doing and paint. It’s happened a couple of times with my peonies. One year it happened to be July 4th that I jumped into those glorious big pink blossoms that smell like heaven. Last Spring it was the two tulips which looked great when the came up, so much so that not only did I cut and paint them right away, I also planted a bunch more for this Spring.

This week it was my gladiolas. There are yellow ones and peach ones, but the white ones with the pink edge grabbed me. I decided they needed to be painted right away. Having been inspired by these the way I had with last Spring’s tulips, I decided to use the same aged wood background. But a stem full of Glads are a lot more complicated then tulips, thus the gratification was not so immediate. There will be more to come from my garden, and perhaps that old piece of wood. The soft delicate flowers against the rough aged wood really appeals to me.  I just haven’t decided who’s next.

This is why a painting of flowers is better than the real thing.

What I did right with this painting was to start with the blossoms. I’ve learned over the years just how fragile flowers can be. While tulips tend to move, that’s right move, they ever so slowly start bending over, gladiolas have blossoms in various stages of bloom (hollyhocks are like that too). That being the case you can’t be sure how long they will last. Normally I start a painting by going for the background first. Blossoms might not hold out long enough for that however. So I was glad I started with the bottom blossoms because the next day they were very wilted and so I could finish the top blossoms which were still beautiful. When I next returned to my studio to paint the background, I was glad I painted things in the order I did.

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