Week 9: Vase of Flowers by Jan Davidsz de Heem


Today I decided to begin work on the white poppy at the top of the bouquet. It was the next step because I needed to have the poppy and the queen anne's lace established to set the scale for the other flowers below them and above the hydrangea.

The copy is 24" x 18" (61 x 45.7 cm) a little smaller than the original, so I cannot just copy the size of the flowers but need to scale them down and make sure they fit within my work. I would love to say that I am dead on with regards to scale and placement, however I am not and some adjustments must be made occasionally...


{block-in of the poppy right before breaking for lunch}

In order to get the scale of the poppy correct, I worked on the edges of the flower first, copying each fluttering petal and using specific markers to keep on track. The edge between the background and the poppy was painted wet into wet, by doing this I have more control over the edge quality, keeping some places hard and others soft.

{status at the end of the day}

As the day progressed I realized that there was not enough time to get around the whole flower, so I began to focus on the internal value changes and shapes of the inner petals in the lower left hand quarter. I also placed the stem and began to develop it.
The value shifts in the poppy are what give it the sense of dimension, so a lot of time was spent working on its subtle shifts. In a few spots there were also color temperature shifts where the value was the same but one area was warmer right next to a cooler area. This change in color temperature lends greater depth to an object because the eye perceives warm colors as being closer than cool colors of the same value.
{detail of the original painting}
While working this afternoon a nice visitor offered to take a photo of me while painting. That spectacular maul stick is a re-purposed extending curtain rod, which works great because it shortens to fit in my locker at the NGA and extends to 4 feet. I use the wood block on the top to remove the cast shadow from the easel and on the bottom to get above the lower lip on the easel.
{working on the painting}
Overall it was a nice day in gallery 50.
Thanks for reading,