I made a set of progressive images to show the stages I would take on the way to a finished painting. First, I develop a mental picture of the finished painting and the setup has to be carefully thought out and planned in accordance with that. Before the flowers are brought in, the enamelware is arranged in accordance with this mental image.
The nasturtium plants are from my own garden. Their long tendrils are at the rangy, long-legged, wandering stage of their growth – just perfect for painting. These long tendrils have to be restrained, because the plant has a habit of turning in search of the spotlight. Copper wire or garden ties are employed, partly to wrangle the plant into an interesting shape and partly to subdue any tendency on the part of the plant to do its own thing! The spotlight reveals the shadows and they are also carefully arranged to link different parts of the painting together.
I sketched the composition onto the board with charcoal and quickly painted in the nasturtium leaves before they had any ideas about being uncooperative. The shadows show the folds of the cloth.
From there it is just a matter of working steadily around the painting. The set up photo shows that the flowers were plain orange. However I brought in a single red and a single yellow flower late in the painting – near the final stage. One flower was posed and painted in several different locations in the finished painting because yellow and red nasturtium flowers are relatively rare in my garden.
I will hold my next exhibition of paintings at the Metcalfe Gallery, Brisbane Institute of Art, Windsor. Open from 27th August to the 8th September, 2021, 10am – 4pm. Please send me a note so I can remind you.