11"x14" oil on oil primed linen mounted on board
This was indeed a delight to paint. I had wanted to paint these flowers ever since I had seen my friend Barbara's painting of these things growing close to where she lives in Ireland. First came the questions - "What are these flowers?!" "When are they in bloom?" (July) - last year I visited in June - so I knew I had to come back in the month of July!
I was in luck this year - they just started blooming mid-week during my visit.
Funny thing last year....when I returned from my visit in June last year, the local garden center here in CT had these potted up for sale. Of course I had my doubts, Valentia island in Ireland does NOT get as cold as CT does in the winter!! I knew that without asking because of the whopper sized plants I saw growing wild there that I had also seen growing in San Diego (and NOT in CT)! My chances were slim, but I suckered in for a couple pots of the stuff. Enjoyed it alot last summer, but of course
it didn't make it through last winter. That was one heck of an expensive "annual". My strategy for gardening is 'survival of the fittest' = totally Darwin.
I also used a somewhat different technique in this painting than I usually do. I usually don't use any additional medium when I paint. Only paint out of the tube as it is. I have certain brands that I like for their color & their body or consistance. But I wanted to try something that I had learned at a workshop with Tracey Frugoli back in April. She uses a walnut oil alkyd medium for her initial layers. I do like this, it does enable you to keep the darks thin & transparent like I like. It dries within 24 hours, and then you can layer your additional layers in with heavier paint (as I like to do). I usually paint "alla prima" or all at once - but I will do whatever it takes to get the job done. If that involves several sittings, so be it.