Monday, January 21, 2013

Work in Progress: Irises {Bountiful Observations Series}

{an in progress painting and the setup beyond}

This year as I continue working on this series, Bountiful Observations, I still have the goal to post a new painting every Monday, however I have also decided to allow myself time to absorb and slow down if the composition I am working on seems it would benefit from extra time to contemplate and dive deeper into the ideas that are informing the process.

With this painting of irises, I was drawn into the idea of creating a painting that bridged two schools of thought, that of the impressionistic bravado of Sergeant and that of the scientific and deliberate realism of Dutch still life. I am grappling with this idea on this painting, should I develop some areas while leaving other areas more sketched in and untouched and to what level of refinement to I achieve overall.

All of the objects in this painting are specially selected, and play a crucial part in how this painting is being developed. First the palette is based around the complementary colors of purple and yellow. The pewter plate and lemon is in homage to the Dutch artist, Pieter Claesz, the books support in color as well as in the ideas of the different schools of art. The top two books are volumes 1 & 2 of Sir Charles Lock Eastlake’s Methods and Materials of Painting of the Great Schools and Masters, and the bottom book is Albert C. Barnes book on The Art of Henri Matisse.

These ideas informed my decisions on what to include in this painting.  However, it is the love of what I see that has kept me captivated on this subject and continues to draw me in, the beautiful nuanced notes of light, how the window is reflected in the glass vase, how light gets refracted onto the wall beyond, how shapes within the painting overlap and interact with each other.  All details that keep my senses activated and energized, and inspires me to keep painting.

On sunny days in January, I am also learning that there is a brilliancy of golden notes in the light that is not present any other time of year. This may be influenced by all the brown notes in the landscape outside, lack of green foliage in the trees, and also a lack of humidity in the air.

I am not sure, but I am discovering it this is a special time of year.


This painting was completed last year at the same time and was the first time I really began to notice and appreciate the special quality of light on a sunny day in January.

I cannot help but ask after sharing my thoughts on this time of year.  
Is there something you think is particularly special about January?


Sandra Busby said...

This is already a beautiful painting! The colours, the texture in your strokes... Gorgeous.
I agree, the light during January is beautiful as the sun begins to go down - like no other time of year :0)

Jim Serrett said...

I appreciate seeing your set up, always nice to know that an artist is working from life and their own experience.
You may enjoy reading
Slow Painting: A Deliberate Renaissance
PDF link

eLIZabeth Floyd said...

Hi Sandra, I too love the quality of light as the sun goes down. Yesterday the tree tops looked on fire the light was so red. Something only to be found this time of year!

eLIZabeth Floyd said...


Yes, I love working from life, the human eye is the only way to really be able to interpret all the color nuances out there :)

Also thanks for the link, I cannot wait to dive into it.


Inessa Stewart said...

Irises are my favorite flower; so I really appreciate your lovely painting in progress! I find January a wonderful time to reflect on the past while embracing a fresh start. Horace's famous quote comes to mind- “Carpe diem! Rejoice while you are alive; enjoy the day; live life to the fullest; make the most of what you have. It is later than you think.” Happy New Year!

Laura Leeder said...

This painting has a wonderful feel to it Liz. For me, January is all about new beginnings, fresh starts and the promise of so much more to come!

eLIZabeth Floyd said...


I love the sentiment and yes, I feel January is always full of new opportunities. Just perfect for rejoicing and living a full life.

eLIZabeth Floyd said...

Thanks Laura! I am glad you like this start :)