I set aside today to give some thought to a long term art subject. The subject needed to be something that I could work on at night under constant light, so of course it ended up being a still life. I decided that I would like to do a painting of flowers in gouache over a 7 day period. Each day I expect the still life to change slightly as the flowers wilt and change positions. I’m not sure how I’m going to handle the change in the still life every day but I’m very excited to see what I come up with.
I went to Safeway and picked up a very cheap bouquet of flowers. I chose the flowers based on color combinations and interest. I really liked the lilies in this bouquet as their shape was very interesting and I wonder how it will change as they wilt. It took me about one and a half hours to setup the still life the way I wanted. I tried a bunch of arrangements, one of which I took a picture of and added below. I ended up with a composition that has a flow to it that I like. If you look at the picture of the still life you will see the flow of flowers begin at the bottom right then travel to the top left, I hope to repeat that movement within my painting.
I had the perfect paper for this painting. A half sheet of Arches hot pressed 300 pound laid watercolor paper that I have been saving for a while. I didn’t want to use it on just any random drawing as the whole sheet cost me 15 bucks. So after setting up the still life and getting the lighting where I wanted it I used a very light pencil and drew out the whole still life in a very sketchy manner. I then went and took a nap, I had a headache. Later I figured out that the very pleasant but very strong smell of the lilies was causing it.
After my very refreshing nap I re-drew the entire still life with a darker pencil but with higher focus on accuracy of the outlines of the flowers. I wasn’t going for extreme accuracy here, I just want to get an accurate placement for everything before I begin with gouache tomorrow.
There a lot of unknowns that I have going into this work and I’m actually very excited to see how I handle them. Like gouache, I have barely worked with it, I wonder how I will hand a long term painting with it. Or a wilting and changing subject, how am I going to express that in one picture? So I will hope for the best and keep moving forward.