Saturday, March 28, 2015

Things I have never done before: Flowers in a vase

The art classes have resumed at Le Centre d'Art, and although I am one of the teachers this trimester, I still go as a student every Saturday to work with the other teaching artists. They are both more experienced than I am and have very distinctive styles, the lessons are instructive and fun. 
I definitely agree with Pascale Monnin when she says that sometimes you get stuck doing your own thing and that working with other creators can bring fresh perspective to your practice. With Frantz Zéphirin this past month at Le Centre d'Art we have been working on landscapes which is something I never do. I have already learned a lot.

Something else I have never done before that I am currently working on is painting "flowers in a vase". My Haitian colleagues can probably guess who I am doing this for and why. For the non-initiated the bottom line is this, I'm a poor starving artist.

One of the first things that went through my mind when I heard what the client wanted was 'I don't do Flowers', but that is not quite true. Since last year I've been painting (pseudo) flowers left and right , and although in those paintings they are always associated with bones, flowers are flowers are flowers. My second thought was 'okay, sure', 'pas de problème', 'se 1-2 pap padap', but that was also untrue, as I discovered later when I got to it. 

Because I like to plan my work and almost never start painting spontaneously, for my first try ever at flowers in a vase, I had to do research. Frankly, I would have been better served by going out in the garden to observe and draw but instead I went to Google.There are millions of flowers in a vase paintings, millions of types of flowers, and let's not forget, millions of different shapes for your flower vase. I didn't want to do roses, callas or orchids, because those are overdone but so are tulips, birds of paradises and marguerites... To make a long story short, I settled for bougainvilleas in a round vase. 
And as you can see for yourself above, so far the result looks nothing like bougainvilleas! (I should have just done my own thing from the start.)

As I have been toiling slowly on that painting the pas week, I've had the time to form new thoughts on the subject and define my comfort zone in my work. Paintings flowers in a vase is like painting anything, it is neither easy or difficult. The challenge comes from making that flowerpot yours and giving that special 'you' touch no matter the degree of detail or technical skill you want to put in it. My comfort zone as an artist is not really things I've never done before, because you can always learn and acquire the know how. My comfort zone is things I want to do because I want to, because they interest me and because they are a continuation of my research.

Although I would not have wanted to paint Flowers in a vase for myself, I want my flowers  to look nothing like the others from his collection (that I haven't seen, so anyways I don't know...). I want them to stand out and be the best goddamn flowers I can do and I want them to make you stop and look every time. I have seen too many painted flowers that
were just blah... . Don't know if I'll succeed but I'm prepared to put some time into it though I can't wait to be done. I can say I have a new-found respect for the those out there who paint (make/create) vegetation/flowers regularly or exclusively. 

I'll conclude by saying that I've had some new ideas popping up for flowers in a vase since starting this one, so if you want flowers from me, don't hesitate to let me know. I am not quite starving but I can do anything!

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