Well, the drought hasn’t been kind to my dahlia’s this year so I couldn’t resist stopping in at my fav flower shop, Bunches, for some of their well irrigated beauties!
Canning jars say farm fresh!
Pete (the resident duck) says admire me from afar.
Pete’s fresh ground espresso, a slice of pumpkin bread and a bouquet of flowers says I’m ready to get down to work! (a different Pete)
These perfect dahlia orbs say I certainly have something for circles!
Dahlia Days may be half a year away but today I was able apply the finishing touches to a portrait whose lovely expression remained elusive for so long!
I love starting the week with a new painting and I’ve been eager to work on this one ever since I did that photo shoot at Bunches last summer! It’s part of my Los Gatos Shop Girl Series – (or least that’s what I’m calling it for now, there are only two so far). There are a lot of good things going for this image to begin with. My subject, for instance, is as beautiful as the dahlias are – her lips are even the same color and shape as the petals! I love the texture, color and pattern that give this piece so much exuberance but which is tempered and grounded by the broad swathes of black and taupe. I’ve laid down all my paint thick and loose and I feel like a sculptor as I try to paint the light and shadow that play throughout the scene. Can’t wait for tomorrow!
So I found I was only spinning my wheels, painting her face over and over, ironically laboring over the freshness in her expression. I hid her away over the holidays and was able to come back to her this week. While she may have lost some of the freshness of the first approach, she has gained a poignancy to her expression and a radiance I’m thrilled with.
Some days seem to have a theme going on – today it was ducks!
This morning I was working at the Los Gatos Museums Gallery as the Staffing Artist.
It was first time since the new hanging that I’ve had the time to really pour over all the new work. I came across Linda Smythe’s ducks – I so adore her painterly approach to her subject matter (often roses) nice and loose and buttery brush strokes! I really enjoyed how she captured the boyant charm of the ducks with a minium of fuss and detail – No eyes but lots of great texture and those cheery orange beaksl
After my shift I wandered into Bunches, a fabulous little flower shop in Los Gatos. This place always puts me in a great mood and it’s not just the bouquets of magnicent blooms and the lovely people, but also because of Pete, this quacking cutie who can shake a tail feather with the best of them!
I had actually gone into the flower shop after my shift at the gallery to ask a gorgeous woman who works there if she would let me photograph her among the gargantuan dinner plate dahlias for a painting. It’s always an odd thing to ask of someone you don’t know, but at least I had a business card with my painting of Blue Corse) on the front (a portrait of the woman who works in the knitting shop above the gallery just stone’s throw away). I guess I didn’t come across as a crazy person because she was game (she even wore the bright yellow gloves she had on for cleaning up after Pete) and I now have FANTASTIC reference photos for my next portrait in what I’m thinking might be my Shop Girl series.
“Girls” may not be accurate as I’m also eyeing the guy who works at the Whole Foods Fish counter with the great tatoos. I might hit up Icing on the Cake (cup cakes) and Frank (eclectic art, jewelry and garden salvage) too for more great models – really there’s no shortage of interesting, beautiful people who work in Los Gatos! I love when portraits have an environment which serves to inform the viewer about the person portrayed. Maybe I should paint Pete too!