DAFFODILS and BEES
A client of mine collects varieties of daffodils in her overflowing garden. She brought me a bunch. It was an unexpected pleasure watching them unfold into their freshness. Their translucency along with the way their surface planes caught the daylight, made them glow. I suddenly remember how I was painting in the bush earlier this week and a native bee kept hovering around my yellow paint. I feel like that bee, hovering around the shimmering planes as they unfold.
In painting the above work, I’ve really tried to study light reflecting off the surface of the petals and the surrounding space. At the same time I’ve had to think about the colours behind the petals to give them a sense of translucency. I wanted to capture the reflected colours, translucency, glow and freshness. I’m reminded of the quality that white cotton shirts have on the line when it’s sunny. When I’m attuning myself to the quality of something, all these associations matter because they refine my experience.
The colour pallet I’ve chosen is comprised of transparent pigments to allow colours from the layer underneath to shine through. Years of watercolour painting has attuned me to understanding how colour mixes through layering paint. It gives colours a quality that can’t be mixed. All this happens on the page in a physical way through an understanding of how filters work. But our eye also does a lot of mixing. When we see two colours that are close in tone sitting next to one another (as in they appear the same in black and white), our eye will sometimes read them as one colour, particularly at a distance. The technical term for this is ‘optical mixing’. The French impressionists made use of this phenomena.
I know all this sounds like a lot of nuanced information, and it is once put into words. I think on one level I’m trying to communicate my way of seeing. On another level, I am just a busy bee painting reflected light and the spaces amongst unfolding daffodils. Friend, I want to encourage you to look closely at something that catches your interest today and ask yourself “what is so special about that?” Then notice what associations naturally arise in your mind, and how it makes you feel. This takes time and relaxing effort. Try it and share a comment on my blog below.
The above painting is available on my website in Portfolios, under Available.