How do I decide what to paint?

Irises and Ranunculus oil painting
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Irises and Ranunculus 22″ x 14″

From time to time, someone asks, “How do you decide what to paint?”. It’s almost always something that catches my eye – cloud formations in a blue, blue sky, or the sun and shadows in a garden, or simply the pretty colors of fruit on a plate.

In the case of “Irises and Anemones”, the inspiration was two-fold. First up was from a visit to West Virginia on a very chilly (cold!) day in early spring. It was too cold to do much outside – in fact, in snowed off and on that day – so we worked on a puzzle I had brought as a hostess gift. The image was a Nell Blaine painting of a vase of flowers against striped wallpaper. (The subtitle of this is “Homage to Nell Blaine.”)

The second source of inspiration was from irises and bleeding heart from my garden and anemones from a big pot I bought at the grocery store. I kinda hate to cut flowers from the garden, because I really don’t have that many, but I do love flowers in the house.

I did go through some pretty drastic changes during the process of painting it. For instance, the pitcher is naturally pale gray pottery, and I got the courage from my friend and paint mentor, Christaphora Robeers, to really go for it on the background. This intermediate stage, and as you can see, it’s okay, but pretty wimpy.

Your thoughts and comments are welcome. I will preview comments before they are published – sorry, but the bots make it necessary. I look forward to hearing from you and will respond as time allows.



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