Sunday, January 12, 2014

Favourite things

Matryoshka blue vase
I have been working on a series of flower paintings.  I feel so happy with a vase of flowers set up in front of me in the studio, especially during the dark gloomy days of winter.  I came across some very pretty michelmas daisy-type flowers in my local supermarket, and they had a strange dusty antique quality about them, and created the challenge that I was looking for.  I find working from life stops me from becoming too formulaic in the way I paint, as the permutations are endless when it comes to form and colour, as every leaf and petal presents a new challenge visually. 
Matryoshka daisies
 My paternal grandmother had a lovely flower painting above her fireplace, painted by one of her artist friends(loveday), I inherited it and it was probably one of the first examples of a portrait of flowers that I would have seen as a child. 
loveday flower painting
 I have always loved Dutch still life paintings with their intense observation giving nature centre stage.  I think I re-visited my preconceptions of a vase of flowers when watching a programme on the TV on van Gogh I realized how large and daring some of his sunflower paintings were.  They were certainly standing up on their own in all their glory, unapologetic and beautiful.  As a student my favourite flower painting was Vuillard‘s mantelpiece painting, a busy divine painting about nothing and everything, a time-snatched incidental composition, but so beautiful and spiritual, like a prayer.
Vuillard The Mantelpiece
  There is nothing more complete than painting an inconsequential vase of randomly picked daisies from the garden, it is so simple yet for me defines everything that is important in this world. However Duncan Grant’s Parrot Tulips are far from spiritual they are of this world rich and earthy, exotic and sensual the velvet cloth they stand on is tactile and warm and the whole composition for me is perfection, vibrant and masterful, it was exhibited at the Camden Town exhibition in London 1909.  
Duncan Grant parrot tulips
My theme this year is Matryoshka which means Russian Doll, as I am looking at Russian textiles and culture for inspiration, and  these recent flower paintings  will be at the Brussells Affordable Art Fair with The Doorway Gallery this February 2014.

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