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!
Found a perfect bundle for the little bamboo demitasse I had waiting in my studio (like so many other vintage teacups I have, just waiting for their flower to come into bloom so I can take their picture in some dramatic light and pair them up with a matching bird – all so I can paint a picture).
This three stemmed lucky bamboo symbolizes happiness, long life and wealth.
Bamboo isn’t the typical Victorian flower I like choose for these teacups but I’m feeling freshly inspired my recent visit to the National Botanical Gardens in Kauai with their gorgeous bamboo groves.
I think I’ll pair this teacup with the lovely little Japanese White Eye birds I spotted there. Can you see it hanging on to the bottom of the bougainvillea? It’s a lovely shade of chartreuse which should be a vibrant counterpoint to the cerise teacup, its endearing white ring around it’s eye echoes the rim of the teacup too!