This painting won Highly Commended along with my other painting of the Lantern Flower below in 2011 at the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists. It is one of a few that I am very happy with. Its combination of dark tonal colours and crisp edges, with the translucent glass and waxy red hues of the leaf make a striking picture. The leafs gorgeous colours and dynamic shape inspired this unusual composition which took many hours, working from the actual still life set up only, to complete.
This painting has taken a couple of weeks to complete, and the hardest part has been the constantly changing lighting. I imagined that using a candle in a boxed set up would give controlled lighting conditions. Unfortunately it was very changeable, as the candle burned down (quickly!) the light changed in strength and direction, the shadows tonal qualities altered and so did all the colour hues! I went through about 10 tea lights too! The expense!
I have chosen a peculiar angle for this painting, it was the combination of hard lines in perspective and the tiny flower heads with their spiny stems which seemed to come together this way. I really enjoyed discovering all the hues in the lilac paper and seeing them in contrast with the flowers colours. It was my first painting on paper where I was covering quite a lot of the area with paint. I remember feeling nervous about whether the paper would cope with my part wet/ part dry brush technique – but it did!
A little picture I painted over a couple of days this summer, I like the weight of a sunflowers head and its rough and ready appearance. They are not delicate or beautiful but they are quite stunning, we had a really huge crop of them this year.