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   I named this painting because of the way the petals flip and twirl and the shadows seem to dance across the petals.

This is a simple branch of a White Rhodo that I took 2 years ago on a trip to visit Buchart Gardens . I knew right away  when I saw the photo that it was paint worthy but sometimes it just has to simmer in my brain for a while and the one day when the time is right I print it off and off to the studio I go So much of my material comes from Butchart Gardens in British Columbia (where I live).

   A couple of years ago I decided if I was going to paint florals I needed to get some good photos of them for my studio paintings. Although here in British Columbia ,Canada we have a moderate climate I would say we have a flower blooming season from about March to September, which leaves 5 months with out much in the garden to paint.I went to Butchart Gardens in Victoria a world famous tourist attraction. Although this wonderful place is  only abut 50km away from my home I had only visited it about 3 times in my life.

 So on one sunny spring day armed with my Nikon D32 camera I went in search of blooms for painting reference photos.

Seeing the Gardens for the first time in years and the first time truely looking at it as an artist ,I was in heaven. I clicked hundreds of pictures and thats the beauty of digital cameras isn't it. It didn't  matter how many I took.

Although I was a little early in the season ther were plenty of blooms,mostly Tulips and Rhododendrans but they all were amazing. I was excited while I took the pictures but then I got home and popped the digital card into my computer and voila a wonderous slide show of botanical beauties showed before me.I was in love  ...literaly my heart felt like I had just met a the love of my life.I had I had just introduced  my passion for flowers to my passion for painting.

 Since then I get a yearly pass and go at least a couple of times a season. Now it is just a matter of which photo I want to paint and how it speaks to me that day when I scan through my photos.

I sometime have troubles naming my paintings but I had this one named before I even painted it. I needed inspiration and as I was shopping for dinner it came out of the Blue, or actually out of the floral department.Also it was a refreshing change to work in Blues. Most of my florals are Reds, Yellows and whites and and change in pallet was nice.

I  painted this from a photo I took of a hydrangea I bought a the grocery store. Although I have hundreds of photos of flowers I'm always searching for that winning photo. Its sort of a "the grass is always greener" thing. I was starving for new material and none of my photos were speaking to me, so I picked up one of those Winter Green house Hydrangeas from the grocery store. It was a nice sunny February day and I took it out on my deck and took about 20 pictures.

I painted this in about 3 days of studio work ,which for me is usually from 10 to 6 oclock and then I hang it and study it and pick away at small details. As I haved mentioned before I love to capture the light and the way the light hits this cluster just called to me to paint it . The texture in the petals is accented by the light hitting it. With out the contrast of the shadows the light would not shine though and the shadows have such rich colour and depth.

I have decided to blog a little something every time I add a painting and maybe even go back and write the back stories on my paintings. I hope to give a little insight as to why and what I am painting and hopefully someone will be interested in my journey.

I have a fairly large file of flower painting reference photos on my computer.The  photos are of  any and every flower I come across and also I will go on photography daytrips at Butchart Gardens. When I am preparing to start a new painting, I will spend a fair amount of time going through my photos trying to decide what to paint.I print off some of them on 8x10 photo paper and lay out the days candadates and toss around the posabilities of what the would look like painted .I consider if I should change the composition or if I am satisfied with it the way it is. Then the photos that I have printed and decide not to use in this session, go into a binder.The funny thing is it seems to be a "the grass is always greener" thing because I will still end up going through the whole process the next time I need a reference photo.

On this particular day I had printed a photo of some tulips.I have many times admired this photo and many times passed it by but this time this photo spoke to me like it was the right time for me to tackle this one. 

I had taken the photo a couple of years ago at a farm where my daughter was living. The farm is mostly untammed gardens and the tulips,daffadils and poppies just spring up everywhere..its beautiful. I wish I could have such a garden but I tend to be a bit of a garden tamer and would have troubles just letting the grass grow up between the tulips.I have painted several paintings from this beautiful resorce but unfortunatley the people that live there now are also garden tamers.

This particular grouping of tulips were up against a wall of a shed and the bright sunlight caused the photo to have such bright contrast that the  background appeared almost black ,which makes the brightness of the highlights really radiate the warmth and the impresion of a bright sunny day.


I will begin my new blog with explaining my painting process.All of my paintings are done from photos I take and I take a lot of photos.  I generally start the process with scouring through my photos,editing them by cropping and sometimes enhancing the colours and tweeking the exposure. I am generally looking for a nice contrast in the light and dark , I like to either work with something that is back lit or has a nice contrast in shadow and light.

Once I have chosen the photo that I would like to work with I will grid off the Photo to asist in my drawing. I like to grid on tracing paper the size of my  canvas and draw the picture on the tracing paper,that way I dont have to deal with grid lines on my canvas later.

 Next I give the canvas an undercoat of colour with acrylic wash (  for either my acrylic and paintings). The wash colour variesdepending on the painting but what I look for is usally a medium value of one of the dominant colours in the painting. this help I in the painting when I begin to establish the contrast of value between my lights and darks.... I can make sure that my light values are lighter than the medium value and my dark values are darker than the medium value.

 After the under coat wash is dry , I transfer the drawing onto the canvas either with chalk or graphite paper.

Now painting begins.I like to work with nice relaxing music and like to be all alone in my studio,at least that is how I am most productive.I will generally start on the main subject and paint the background afterwards. I begin by painting the darker values first,then medium and last lights.Filling in all areas basicly first and then start all over again refining lightening light areas and darkening dark areas.My exact method of painting is slightly different when I am painting in Oils or Acrylics but most of the proceedure are the same just the methods of applying the paint is different.And that I will get into at another time. 

Well for now until we meet again  thanks,  Bev