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Lilies in oil

February 17, 2013

lilies 1

lilies 1

This is a painting that I wasn’t satisfied with. For me it was overworked and I couldn’t get the background to resolve.

So I decided to use it as the basis for an experiment. As I wrote a few posts ago in  Painting more directly  I was taken with the colours and way of applying paint in the work of the Scottish Colourists as well as contemporary Scottish artist,  Shona Barr.

Actually, in reading the biographies of Scottish artists from about 1750 to the present, I was struck by how they learned to paint. Some of them had little or no classical training, others went to renowned art colleges. But for the majority, it was exposure to other artists, either French, Italian, or Scottish contemporaries that propelled them into new way of approaching their work. And paradoxically this led them eventually to their own style.

All the artists I love, took nearly a lifetime to arrive at their clearly recognisable way of working. You see their early work and it looks similar to every other painter in the searching stage- conventional still lifes, nudes, landscapes, composition and colours.

Then, when they mature, usually after years of steady work, their own visual vocabulary emerges, their way of handling paint, the colour paths, their eye for composition, their personal mark-making.

All aspiring painters want to reach this stage too soon. Me included. I’ve been an artist all my life, but a painter for only about 10 years, and that not consistently.

So this is a chronicle of the part of the journey I’m on.

OK, back to the lilies. I let loose this morning and coloured the hell out of the above dry painting. This is what emerged, using Shona Barr’s painting as a direct example of colour and brushwork.  There is lots wrong with it, but at least it is alive. I’m leaving it as it is and taking my next step with the next painting, wherever that will lead.

Lilies abstract

Lilies abstract

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3 Responses to “Lilies in oil”

  1. decorartuk Says:

    The end result is very vibrant! and so much different to the first stage… As you know I love colours, so this painting in my opinion is really good – you can still see the lilies, but the background is nicely “moving” and bursting in colour.

    • Sarah Zoutewelle Says:

      Thanks, working this way opened a lot of possibilities. I appreciate your opinion on this, and agree about the way the background works. It is less static than it was and the whole piece is more rhythmic.


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