Dahlia Run

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!

Dahlias at Bunches

Canning jars say farm fresh!

Pete at Bunches

Pete (the resident duck) says admire me from afar.

Dahlia Run

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)

Studio Dahlias

These perfect dahlia orbs say I certainly have something for circles!

Shooting Dahlias

Dahlia days are almost at an end so I salvaged some still lovey heads from some very floppy and mildewed stems and set about photographing them.

Now whether you are painting from life (or still life) or shooting for later reference – or for that mater, taking photographs for the sake of photography, there are some keys to a successful image.

Shooting Dahlias - Marie Cameron 2013 - low light, similarly hued background

Here you can see that the tungsten light casts a yellowish light over the purple toned flowers and walls, making everything appear monochromatic and flat. I find that natural light is always best.

Shooting Dahlias - Marie Cameron 2013 - overhead

This shot has several things going for it, the natural light from the window really illumuninates and defines the petals and gives a truer picture of the real color of the flowers. The charteruse backdrop provides a nice complementary contrast to the flowers, giving them a dramatic boost but the overhead shot leaves the arrangement ungrounded.

Shooting Dahlias - Marie Cameron 2013 - back lit

In this one, the image is more grounded but the backlighting doesn’t do much for this subject.

Shooting Dahlias - Marie Cameron 2013 - low light, cool, high contrast light

Here this side lighting from the window does a fantastic job of defining the blooms but it’s a little cold for my taste.

Shooting Dahlias - Marie Cameron 2013- Using Flash

I used a flash in this shot and you can see how it flattens the image and is far too contrasty and cold.

Shooting Dahlias - Marie Cameron 2013 - side lighting

Here the light is perfect, warm, natural side lighting gives the flowers and vase great definition, the soft warm green is just enough of a complement to the dahlias without competing and the the black base is a great grounding surface that gives just the right amount of contrast to the image. What about that clutter in the background though? In a painting it could be made to be more abstract and less irritating, but it slightly distracting.

Shooting Dahlias - Marie Cameron 2013 - low light, contrastingly hued background

Oh, finally – the perfect shot! There is nothing extraneous in this shot to pull your attention away from the gorgeousness of the dahlias in their simple but perfect presentation. I think I’m ready to put a new canvas on the easel!

“Dignity and Elegence – ForeverThine”

Just Ducky

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.

Todays Staffing Artist Marie Cameron 2013

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

Linda Smythe's Duck Pond - oil at LGMG 2013

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!

Pete at Bunches Marie Cameron 2013


Pete at Bunches Marie Cameron 2013


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.

Yellow Gloves and Dahlias - Bunches Marie Cameron 2013

“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!

Pete on One Foot - Bunches Marie Cameron 2013