Custom painted hydrangeas! My dear friend Doris (one of the Italy gals) contacted me and said she LOVED my floral paintings of hydrangeas. She lives in Oklahoma and grows hydrangeas herself. Doris wanted me to paint the beautiful pink and green ones that bloom at the end of the season in her garden. She happened to have a photo of a hydrangea bouquet in a pewter vase on her grey kitchen table (described as “funky”), with a bright yellow wall in the background.
It was a great photo with good shadows and a few highlights. I painted a quick study (on a pizza box!) with the flowers centered, and there was something amiss . . . it was just “dullsville”. So I cropped an inch and a half off the right side, added it back on the left side — and my new floral painting sprang to life!
One of Degas’ Floral Paintings (or Portrait?)
Here is your art history lesson for today. Edgar Degas, a leading impressionist artist famously known for his figure studies of ballerinas, was one of the first artists to use an off-center composition. His “A Woman Seated beside a Vase of Flowers” painted in 1865 was controversial in its time. Degas was even accused of adding the woman to one of his floral paintings as an afterthought! He once said of himself “I assure you that no art was ever less spontaneous than mine. What I do is the result of reflection and study of the great masters; of inspiration, spontaneity, temperament.” This innovative Degas masterpiece, dominated by a huge flower arrangement, is certainly a far cry from the traditional portraiture of the day. The more complimentary criticism referred to Degas’ floral painting’s composition as “dynamic”.
I have to agree — the off-center approach definitely proved to be dynamic for my “Doris’ Hydrangeas”! I really enjoy having it among the floral paintings in my gallery. I’ve been procrastinating about shipping the painting to her — under the guise of needing more drying time for the oil paints. And, with my imminent Lakeway art exhibit at the Lake Travis Library, Doris has graciously agreed to let me keep it until next Sunday. It will adorn the refreshments table at the art exhibit reception. I’m going to put a big SOLD sign on it (as they do in the big art galleries) to make everyone thing my floral paintings are “selling like hotcakes”. Better hurry and get yours today!!! Ha, ha, ha!