I just listed Magnolia Tea II on the website and will be bringing it into Gallery 25 with a flock of other Birds and Teacups. In this painting, I tried to bring home some of the magic of spotting a white hummingbird in the wild to capture it in a domestic still life with this unusual, unpainted Limoges demitasse set and Magnolia Grandiflora bloom which represents nobility and perseverance in the Victorian language of flowers.
So happy to get to my first painting of the white hummingbird I had so gleefully stalked with my telephoto at the Arboretum in Santa Cruz a few months back. I have lots of plans for all photos I took of him but I wanted to start with something for my Birds & Teacups series. I paired him with a white Limogues T&V demitasse, which is a delicate and glowing as the bird, and a magnolia grandiflora bloom. If I’s wanted to be matchy-matchy I might have painted whit ivy, which seems to be depicts on the handle of the demitasse, but there’s enough magic and mystery going on in this image and I really loved the the scale of the flower compared to the bird and the cup.
Quick oil sketch in rose and vilolet tones.
Blocked in a whole lot of loose color, working largely dark to light.
Placing more halftones and highlights.
Good day’s work but I ran out of daylight and objectivity. By Monday I should have more of both!
Found these fabulous variegated tulips at Bunches the other day and while they’re not the exact striped tulip that is depicted on this Italian demitasse, they do make a lovely compliment. I took a number of shots to make sure I had the right composition when my bird comes along. The variegated tulip signifies “beautiful eyes” in the Victorian language of flowers, I wonder it this will helps me decide on a bird?
I love to start a new painting with the new week – fresh start, fresh paint and all the those days stretching out before me like an empty road. I was able to race ahead with an image I’d already worked out…a cute, vintage Japanese bamboo demitasse filled with lucky bamboo against the lush pattern of a period cheongsam (that used to fit me). I loved this combination but wasn’t sure what bird to pair it with until I saw these Japanese White Eyes in Kawaii last winter (yes it takes me a while to get to all the ideas I have filled away). I love how their chartreuse feathers and little white eye rings act as a perfect compliment to the vignette.
As usual, I keep the initial oil sketch very loose, making sure only that the teacup is centered.
Next I loosely blocked in the background – there’s not much detail in the fabric anyway being some kind of watercolor looking satin and velvet burn out affair (I wish it sill fit me!).
The teacup came next.
Then the bamboo.
Then the birds were roughed in, all I could manage for the day.
Today, with the paint a bit set, I was able to come back in and start working on the details. At this point the birds are starting to develop personalities and the teacup is taking on it’s character. I’ll bring fresh eyes to it tomorrow, but it’s well on it way to being complete!
OK, I find these vintage Chubu demitasse ridiculously charming! They were made in occupied Japan, and I think they are meant to resemble lotus flowers. I’m a little short on lotus today so I shot them with strawberries, which I felt was in keeping with their fanciful nature. The only thing they’re missing are hummingbirds!
And my personal favorite, pink of perfection! Or is it green with envy?