Wednesday, 28 September 2011


It's all doom and gloom this week in Europe - is this the end of capitalism as we know it?  These are strange and unnerving times and who knows what the future holds. Perhaps this is distracting me and affecting my energy and enthusiasm for painting - I did not go into the studio on Monday.  But another reason for not going in was that Rob and Michaela had given me some sunflowers from an East Lothian farm and I wanted to have a go at painting them.  So I started with a sketch in charcoal.
Sunflower Sketch copyright Aileen Grant
It's been a while since I used flowers as a subject for painting.  The trouble with sunflowers is that Van Gogh did them so well and any attempt to draw or paint sunflowers is inevitably measured against his achievement.  Nevertheless, I soldiered on, got the watercolours out and had a go at painting them.  This is what resulted.
Sunflowers by the window copyright Aileen Grant
I was trying very hard not to do a botanical painting, but still trying to capture the essence of the flowers, and I thought the fabric - with yellow and purple stripes - would help to make a good picture.  Sunflowers are rather beautiful - so strong and structural.  However, using watercolours imposed limitations in terms of the artistic treatment, but I tried to keep the treatment loose and catch the sun falling on the flowers. End result?  I think I prefer the drawing - the marks are more interesting.

I'm still not sure what I'm going to do next, but I don't think I'll become a painter of flowers. Maybe a few days up north will help me get a new focus and allow me to stay occupied over the winter.

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