Monday, May 25, 2009

The cannas don’t wanna cooperate

I’ve been wrestling with cannas in the last couple of weeks, trying to capture them on fabric that is. Forget growing them, they get some kind of tropical rot in our yard. Fortunately the fantastic gardeners at the Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens have no problem growing them in abundance. I took this photo recently of a drift of cannas with lime green leaves and have been painting multiple versions of them, (not on purpose, actually.)

The photo has been tweaked a bit:
Blue painted around cannas to silhouette them. There is a lake behind them, but there was also a tree cluttering things up.
The foliage color of the yellow daisies was tinted gray-blue and the geranium leaves more turquoise.

Below is the first attempt, a washy splash of acrylics on plain white cotton fabric. It’s not bad, but it didn’t grab me. At least it was quick to do, compared to the next one. My general plan was to do a layer of painting, then add chunks of additional fabric on top.
The one below is painted with acrylics in an opaque fashion. Even though it has a lot of bright green, it doesn't convey the impact of the original leaves. It also seems monotonous. The image below was an experiment in using a strong outline. I had abandoned it in the outline stage, but then tried using up some leftover paint by filling in the outlined shapes. The multitude of colors was talking to me.The work-in-progress below shows the canna leaves rendered with a variety of colors. Though not a literal depiction of how they look in real life, I’m liking them so far.
Sooner or later I’m going to have to tackle the blooms. Either I have a mental block or canna blooms are hard to draw. They are a cluster of smaller flowers and each cluster seems to look different. We’ll see what happens next...


Dolores said...

Love the paintings and thanks for showing us your process - your keepers and your discards. I love the end one with the multiple colours and the bright green.

Beena said...

The last painting in your post is infinitely more interesting than the cannas in "real life"! Your inner vision of these plants is far juicier than what you are actually seeing to begin with! Gorgeous!

Diane J. Evans said...

I love seeing the process you go through. It's informative to me to see that you sometimes have to go through 3 or 4 stages before you find the image that makes your heart sing. Thanks for sharing -- and I do love the last version best!


utahbeerdude said...

I like the fourth attempt at the leaves.