Friday, 22 August 2014

A Beautiful Back

Finally, I have had something of a productive week, with a new piece for the portfolio finished and another already set to go. Sometimes, things all come together. Now, along with my own work, it's time to start thinking about the next subject for my classes that are starting in September. The first class is set to focus on late summer flowers, and there are some lovely subjects coming into their own just now, so there will be plenty to choose from.   

Dahlias always make a nice subject, although my favourites are the single, daisy blooms that the bees adore. A few years ago I painted a yellow one named Dahlia 'Party'. My favourite view of this flower was actually from the back, which had a lovely raspberry-ripple effect on the petals with a gorgeous bronze tone. Unfortunately the front of the flowers weren't quite as successful, as I wasn't so keen on the brighter yellow, and although I was keen to try it again, the plant didn't have the same heart, and died over the winter that year.

From the front.
The perfect bloom of a Dahlia
A lovely subject for a workshop, and a terrific colour

Still, I am quite keen to bring these cheery and pretty blooms to my students and have found the most gloriously pink variety, or there's a lovely coppery one too. Just which to choose. Both will provide plenty of interest and challenge with colour mixing and layering of washes but also there are the finer details and the daintiest of stems that is the colour of fine red wine. Should be a good day.

An early one from me.
Not wholly successful, but I like the back view,
and the buds came out quite well too.
©Jarnie Godwin

And from the back

I love the back of this Dahlia, it really shows the 'nuts and bolts' of the structure of the flower, and how it has emerged from the bud. Whenever I am painting a subject, I really like to study it from all sides, but especially from the back. So much can be gleaned from this view, and I try to incorporate a back view into my paintings. The petals also have a lovely texture, as they are a reverse of the front with the veining appearing more pronounced and the colours taking on greater depth.

Look deep into nature,
and then you will understand everything better
Albert Einstein

Other flowers can also have wonderfully contrasting backs to their petals, and it is beneficial to take a peek on the other side, as sometimes you find a really interesting viewpoint. Indeed, some artists will make sure they include a back view in their paintings, as this can often provide a more interesting and beautiful subject. This one in particular really caught my eye when I first started painting in the botanical style.

Taken from Billy Showell's book, 'Watercolour Flower Portraits'.
The back of the white lily completes a composition showing
the flower from bud to full bloom.
©Billy Showell
With kind permission

Although not a full back view,
I added a good amount of back view in this recent study.
©Jarnie Godwin

My favourite postcard.

Taken from her Gold Medal winning series of Sunflower paintings,
Sharon Tingey included this extraordinary painting of the back view.

Personally, it's my favourite of this series
©Sharon Tingey
With kind permission

Whenever I take reference photos of a subject, I always include a good amount of images taken from the back. Not only does it show how the flower attaches to the stem and some information that can't be seen from the front, I just like them. You never know when you might come across an absolute gem, that you just have to paint.

My new yellow Rubeckia has a lovely back view,
and all those hairs add beautiful texture and contrast

A simple Cosmos flower.
The veining is so much more pronounced from the back.
And again, there is wonderful texture

Another Dahlia.
The wonderful coppery tones are beautifully evident,
and the 'raspberry-ripple' effect is there. 
Etoile Violette has that gorgeous silvery 'flocked'
appearance on the back, which is greatly in contrast
to the deep, velvety tones of the front


Claire said...

They are gorgeous from the back and even better when back lit too. Glad you're on track again Jarnie xxx

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

Thank you Claire. Yes, it's a bit like photography studio in here. Would madam like a spotlight? Ha ha