The Artist Is The Director
Flower Gardens are an exciting subject and this painting was done in a friend's garden in Taos, New Mexico. I wandered around the garden looking at different possibilities and settled on this one because I liked the jumble of flowers in the foreground, the daisies and delphiniums creating a focal point in the middle ground, and the aspen trees in the background.
It is the artist's responsibility to interpret what he or she sees rather than only copying and, in this case, I decided to cast the aspens in shadow to highlight the daisies and delphiniums. The foreground is a mad jumble of twisting, turning flowers and leaves where the viewer can get lost. Nowhere in this area did I use the strong value contrast that I used in the middle ground with the white daisies. There are lots of daisies in this painting but I chose to make only two pure white against rich darks. As the painting developed, I scratched out some of the stems to create the depth I wanted using cadmium yellow and opaque white for spattering.
Delphiniums are one of my favorite flowers. I painted them with light blues and violets then added middle values and finally a few dark accents making sure to have an interesting combination of hard and soft edges. Even though the two white daisies dominate the composition, I wanted the whole thing to be interesting so the viewer didn't get bored. In some paintings I have a definite plan on how to lead the viewers eye into and around the painting but that was not the case here. I wanted the viewer to find their own way in, wander around getting lost in different passages until finally discovering the importance of the daisies and delphiniums. Starting this week I am teaching a class at the Art Students League of Denver titled "ONLINE Loose Painting With Florals In Watercolor" where I will be exploring some of these ideas and a lot more. There is still time to register. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton