Composing a Floral Painting
Mandarins and Bouquet
24 x 30
I've been experimenting with different compositions for still life. It feels like every bouquet that I set up is a repetition of something that I've seen in other paintings in the past. This is particularly obvious when the flowers are in a vase. Richard Schmid, in his book Alla Prima, notes that he does everything possible to avoid depicting his florals in vases, and that remark really got me thinking. Flowers are a wonderful subject, but they do look tamed and conventional in a vase. Schmid deals with this problem by laying flowers on a surface like cloth or a bowl. They are often in a horizontal position.
Another possibility is to change the usual perspective as I've done here. I kept the vase - special because it was a gift from my mother - but put the set up on a low table in front of my easel. I also tried to introduce a greater depth of field by laying oranges on the foreground cloth.
As always, negative space was the most interesting part of the composition for me. I love the spaces between the flowers and their stems more than I love the flowers.
This type of set up is one that I'll continue to experiment with. It's vigorous and interesting to me.
I hope you agree!