We have the good fortune to move to Minnesota for the summer, leaving Arizona’s heat behind and spending time near our grandchildren. One of the other great delights is that our apartment is only four blocks from my sister, her husband and their garden!
We were greeted this June with a beautiful bouquet that included onion scapes ~ those squiggly bits with the white seed pods. At first, they were even curlier. As the weeks passed, they slowly unwound a bit, but it was wonderful how long they lasted and what flare they gave to each collection of flowers I added.
So a couple of weeks ago, when I decided to take on the challenge of painting a clear glass vase, the scapes called to me. Here’s the result of my first attempt…
I liked the vase and the way the stems looked in the water. But I wanted to try again with the background especially.
I used masking fluid on the stems and seed pods so I could lay down the background wash with more fluidity. The way I drew the stems reminded me of Celtic braid patterns. I think they look like they are dancing.
We are only a forty-minute-drive from the Twin Cities, so can easily go to a museum or play or ball park. While I was doing this second still life, we visited The Museum of Russian Art in MInneapolis. It’s a wonderful small museum in a repurposed church with rotating exhibits featuring different aspects and periods in Russian art and cultural history. On this visit, one still life caught my eye. It was sort of katty-wumpus – reminiscent of Picasso, perhaps.
Back at my painting table, I remembered the fun, as a kid, of scribbling with a black marker on a clean sheet of paper and coloring all the little shapes with different colors which created a stained-glass window effect. This reminded me of the entangled stems of my second still life. I was also experimenting with sketching using my paint brush instead of pencil. I liked the more fluid lines that result.
I thought of the free-spirited composition at the museum and decided to shoot for color, pattern and rhythm over perspective and “accuracy”. It was lots of fun to follow the painting through a series of changes. First, changing colors each time a shape is crossed by another…
Playing with the designs I can make with my paint brush…
My original focus was getting swallowed up by the riot of color and pattern, so it was time to refocus.
By far my favorite of the three paintings of this still life… and I have the seeds to plant more and see what comes of that!