Evening Flowers with Red Nasturtium
Capturing the spirit of this dramatic still-life group was a challenge until evening fell
I had struggled with this for a few hours one afternoon. Something was not right, even though the subject was beautiful and I thought it should make a good painting. I took a break and returned with the plan to scrape it off and try again the next day, but when I looked at the set-up in the low, end-of-the-day gloom the whole thing had finally gained the 'magic' that had been missing in daylight. I smudged and wiped the existing paint across the board and turned it on its side. Then I had to work swiftly to capture the feel of the whole thing before it was too dark to see. It’s an odd irony that to create an apparently relaxed and expressive piece like this, I have to be completely focussed and self-controlled in order not to go into auto-pilot, and over-work the painting. Obviously, the focus had to be on the single red nasturtium, glowing away in the middle of it all. Pure cadmium red, darkened with a little burnt sienna for the deeper tones, and a few deft flicks of a filbert brush were all it needed to complete the composition. Thankfully, when I put the lights on it still looked pretty good!