As consumers of colour, artists are grateful for this moveable feast. I take a multitude of pictures each growing season, hoarding them like a squirrel’s walnuts for the cold winter when I will need them in order to survive. Blue winter shadows on snow are gorgeous, but I need more, especially when it’s so often overcast and the world is robed in gradations of grey and white. I begin to long for spring.
This is what I found in my stockpile.
The first painting in 2021. You can see that I am edging back into a Technicolour world. The reference photo was taken in our front garden last fall before being slightly tweaked to locate the underlying shadow tones. As I painted, at first I thought that the whole peony would be soft pastels; there are probably four or five transparent glazes on the petals. Eventually, however, the deep golden heart with its juicy mix of “infinite stamens” and “5-7 pistils” demanded to make its voice heard. Three more glazes there of Pebeo’s “Stil de Grain” served to establish the focal point in all of its glory.
By the way, if you have a spot of sun, plant a peony root. It will faithfully return to bloom magnificently each spring, even after you are gone. Not a bad legacy.