Back to Maude...
After a busy couple of weeks getting ready for my last fine art fair of the season, it was nice to settle-in with Maude (my easel) this week. This new piece has been spinning around in my head for weeks and I have been dieing to get to work on it. If you can't tell from this first shot at my work station, it is a close up of zinnias that were inspired by a visit to the homestead of Ed & Mary Rendle in Ottawa Lake, MI. They have a beautiful home complete with extensive perennial gardens and a large vegetable garden. The pictures of these zinnias was taken from a row that had to be at least 60 feet long. The colors were amazing and they were swarming with butterflies. Thus, I have included a Monarch in this final composition on canvas.
Read on if you want more technical info about my painting process:
The painting is 5' x 4' on canvas. The canvas has three coats of regular Gesso to keep the oil paint from eating the fabric and two coats of heavy body Gesso. The first layer of the heavy body Gesso was applied with a large brush and the second with a dry wall knife. These last two layers will provide interest to the surface even before I started layering paint. Next came two coats of ochre with a little cadmium and burnt sienna to make a rich gold. The last coat before I started drawing is a combination of various reds, purples and browns that I mixed on the canvas surface as I applied them. All of this work before drawing?? Yes, it will be worth it! Painting into a red ground on the canvas contrasts the foliage greens and the sky. This provides both energy and unity to the piece as only tiny bits of the red are left between the brush strokes.