Tulip Tea I (WIP)

Tulip Tea I (WIP) 1 - Marie Cameron 2015

I’ve begun a new bird & teacup piece. This time a Purple Finch (the only red bird I’ve shot) with a Coalport teacup paired with some vintage redwork embroidery, calico and red and white striped tulips. I start, as always with a loose, painting directly on the prepared board.

Tulip Tea I (WIP) 2 - Marie Cameron 2015

I really should have worked the background first but I decided to block in my reds instead.

Tulip Tea I (WIP) 3 - Marie Cameron 2015

Eager to see some tulip action I painted these in loosely as well, letting the pigment pull through the brush strokes.

Tulip Tea I (WIP) 4  -  Marie Cameron 2015

I was eager to see the finch too .

Tulip Tea I (WIP) 5 - Marie Cameron 2015

I worked on the teacup next, as it supports both the flowers and bird, I wanted to make sure they felt well integrated.

Tulip Tea I (WIP) 6 - Marie Cameron 2015

Dobbing in the foreground to feel where the shadows would fall.

Tulip Tea I (WIP) 7 - Marie Cameron 2015

Filling in the vintage linen embroidery backdrop I experimented with a crosshatched look.

Tulip Tea I (WIP) 8 - Marie Cameron 2015

Dropping the crosshatching, I tried more definition and a brighter backdrop.

Tulip Tea I (WIP) 9 - Marie Cameron 2015

Wanting a deeper shadow I try blocking in dome darks but the grays are all still too wet.

Tulip Tea I (WIP) 10 - Marie Cameron 2015

I end up wiping it off down to the initial sketch with a rag dampened with mineral spirits.

Tulip Tea I (WIP) 11 - Marie Cameron 2015

I begin to apply the darks in a more controlled way – a muddy mess is a nightmare!

More to come….

Tulip Tea I  - 12x12 inches - Oil on Board - Marie Cameron - 2015

Finished!  I’ve messed around with little details until the painting told me I was done.


Lately I’ve gone from painting dead birds to live ones!

My teacup birds, while quite whimsical in concept, are a really about putting some life into the still life genre.  I love the layers of artifice that go into these pieces, There’s the teacup artist’s interpretation of a flower and then my re-interpretation of that as well as my careful observation of the real flowers in their corresponding teacup that I’ve arranged in the low afternoon sun that comes streaming in my studio windows.

Then I coax a bird to land on my vignette while I snap a picture. Yes, I wish. I must rely on my growing collection of photos that I take myself as well as some other photo references which I combine with my own work and obscure beyond any point of possible copyright infringement.  I need to invest in some more feeders – but I’m not beyond stalking the neighbor’s feeders. I find mornings are best! Although I’ve paused while writing this to take shots of junkos with my telephoto out here on the patio with my feet up on the fire pit and my laptop on my lap! Now if that humming bird will just come back for my pommegranate blossoms – no such luck!

Here are some of my better birding moments, not all teacup appropriate, but you never know…

Spotted Towhee (male) - photo Marie Cameron 2014

Spotted Towhee – Los Gatos

Purple House Finch (male and female) - photo Marie Cameron 2013

Purple House Finch – Carpinteria

Oregon Junko (male) - photo Marie Cameron 2014

Oregon Junko – Los Gatos

Lesser Goldfinch (male) - photo Marie Cameron 2014

Lesser Goldfinch (male) – Los Gatos

Lesser Goldfinch (female) - photo Marie Cameron 2014

Lesser Goldfinch (female) – Los Gatos

Anna's Hummingbird  - photo Marie Cameron 2013

Anna’s Hummingbird – Los Gatos

Stellar's Jay - photo Marie Cameron 2014

Steller’s Jay – Los Gatos

Starling and Cherry Blossoms - photo Marie Cameron 2013

Starling- Santa Cruz

Gulls by the Bay Bridge - photo Marie Cameron 2014

Seagulls – San Francisco

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo - photo Marie Cameron 2013

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo – Santa Barbara

Black Swan - photo Marie Cameron 2014

Black Swan – Santa Barbara

Peacock - photo Marie Cameron 2012

Peacock – Cupertino

Albino Peacock - photo Marie Cameron 2014

Albino Peacock – Ayelsford

Flamingo - photo Marie Cameron

Flamingo – Oakland