Lily Pond

I prefer oils.  I like the way you can push the paint around.  I like the way you don't have to rush it.  I like adding and taking off paint for ages without worrying about it.  The smell is alright when using the right solvent.  OK it is a right mess, but you quickly learn to control that, just think: use a rag where you would normally use a water pot.  However... with the mess, the smell and the slow drying, I don't use oils on a Tuesday evening.  So if I am going to use oils I end up doing two paintings at the same time.  Here's the other painting.

I took a photo of our garden pond, got a bit lucky and then though: this would make a good painting.  It had good deep greens lurking the water, lots of contrast and a shining flower to form a focus point.  I chose a 10 inch square canvas I had lying around.

I first cropped the photo so I only had to look at the bit I am to copy.  I put the flower off to one side.  I would do this anyway to improve the composition balance, but in this case I moved it slightly further than the standard one third so that I get a more complete frame of lily pads on the left.  The flower is also on the bottom third line to put it firmly in the foreground.

The approach to this one is straightforward and follows what I did for Summer Isles: outline, block-in, detail.  Here's the outline:

The way I work, this is not so much an outline as it is a bunch of guides. I assume all details are going to get lost in the painting progress so I don't draw them.  I have drawn each of the outer flower petals as a quick swipe of the brush no more.  As I have never painted flowers before (I might have mentioned this) the result should be interesting.  No, I have rarely painted flowers: I once painted a butterfly on a buddleia, the case that proves the point.

That blocks it in.  On the whole it doesn't look fantastic at this point, but this is not the real painting.  The purpose here is to stretch the contrast and the colour use.  The paint has been thinned to a mere smudge which will be dry just as soon as all that extra solvent has evaporated.  Then I paint over it knowing that the paint I add will be the correct one as I can compare with the rest of the painting.  The one bit I haven't blocked in is the flower.  This is mainly because it is so bright and you cannot block in white oil very easily.

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