|Notice how the composition of this sparse still life is deft--from
the angle of the bottle to the serpentine curve of the ivy sprig.
(Dried Ivy by Kristin Kunc, 8 x 12, oil on linen, 2008).
I'm not a knick-knack girl, but I do really have a
connection to the objects around me. I project feelings and memories onto them,
and like to have them in view. I can, I'm almost embarrassed to say, feel
almost devastated if something that is precious to me is lost or damaged.
But that kind of emotional trigger or connection is
definitely one I want to portray through the objects that I paint. And as the
seasons change and I spend more time indoors, I want to keep
a connection to nature by creating floral paintings or studies with as much
impact as if I was painting a beloved object or token.
Flowers can signify so many things, good and sad. Just think
of all the occasions when flowers play an integral role: a teenager's first
dance corsage or boutonniere; a wedding or, sadly enough, a funeral; as a
victory or celebration token; part of a romantic gesture, but also a sign of
appreciation for natural beauty.
But painting flowers can easily devolve into tedium. That's
why I pay attention to three things to make sure I'm learning how to paint
flowers that are memorable and not just pretty.
I take composition very seriously. It is not just a matter of grabbing a
vase and shoving the flowers in. I like to play with height, angles, and
||Yellow, Red, and White by Michael Klein,
12 x 20, oil on linen, 2008.
key. Pushing color and keeping it from being "same old" is really crucial.
Sometimes I'll even take extreme liberties and switch colors around, or if I am
painting flowers like hydrangeas, I will really push the pinks and blue colors
I see until they are almost electric.
Painting less of
what I see is also a lesson I've learned. I always have a tendency to want to
paint this bit over here, and that bit over there, and it ends up looking
really patchy and uneven. So I've learned to restrain myself and reserve
strokes. Trying to make a flower form in only a handful of strokes, including
highlights and shadows.
But I still have a long way
to go in terms of figuring out all the ins and outs of painting flowers, which
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