Visiting Old Friends

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oil on canvas, 24″ x 54″

Revisiting this piece and making some changes has me wanting to be up there again, in the soft rain amongst the agapanthus. I think an annual pilgrimage to either Mandeville or Greenwich is a worthy aspiration as I know there’s a lot that can be done with these heavenly flowers, and this is just a beginning.

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detail

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detail

There are the buds in their various stages, and the sculptural perfection of them; there’s the spindly stems of the flowers and the way they burst into soft blue stars; there’s the spherical suggestion of the blossom, and the tall and slender stalks; there’s the host of lilacs and cobalts on the hillsides. And then there are the homes that they usually surround. I introduced a building into this painting to give it a context, something to work with the pathway; I’d like to work more compositions with agapanthus and buildings. Spring soon come….

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Kingston Garden

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oil on canvas, 42″ x 57″

Started well over a year ago, this piece hung on the wall unfinished because I didn’t know how to finish it. It is now completed. There were so many areas I liked I was afraid to continue in case I lost them, but once I gathered my courage and began back in it actually went well, and it revealed itself to me without (too much) hesitation. In fact, it’s got a freedom of brushstroke that I really enjoy and have been aiming for – loose and seemingly spontaneous, and the palette is so pleasing – soft and dreamy…. so I’m happy with it. Always a good place to be.

The flowers and leaves are all in my garden so I see them all the time, and I’d been painting a series of these sexy pinks and hanging heliconias, so after much fumbling and attempting to do them justice I am finally finding a dialogue with them that we both enjoy…at least I do, and they’re not complaining.

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(detail)

I’m finally beginning to accept that each piece I paint starts beautifully and with lots of promise and gorgeous marks, and then I mess it up, and then I spend a long time with plenty cussing trying to ameliorate. Trying to make what’s terrible better. Or not good enough acceptable, and then some. To save it from the reject pile.

This process allows a lot of luscious paint to build up, and there is the lovely play of drips and strokes and colours and tones, and that’s what make it interesting eventually, at least to me.

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(detail)

Not tight and controlled. “Spirit over rendering” is my new mantra.

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(detail)

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(detail)

It’s big, and difficult to photograph, but this is a record and that’s all it’s supposed to be.

Today I varnish it and prepare it to head off to a new as yet unknown home…