In the Neighborhood

TM8557 In the Neighborhood 24×44 oil on panel

I read today that the lily is supposed to be my birth flower, well what do you know….now I feel justified in my fixations. That said, the 2015 parade of lily paintings has commenced. In the Neighborhood takes a side glance at two white lilies, one of which is just beginning to stretch its petals. The slanting reflections, numerous, half-submerged lily pads, and streaks of underwater lily stems set up a sense of dynamic movement. When you look more closely, two fish, heading upstream against the current, push into view. In the Neighborhood explores the entire environment – trees and sky above, fish and vegetation below, and the almost ethereal transience of the flowers floating on the surface. Details below. Enjoy.

Technical painting notes: In the Neighborhood began with a dark blue black roll-up of oil paint. I consciously left parts of the primed panel exposed, hoping for a dramatic chiaroscuro. I spritzed and dripped solvent on the wet paint, then pushed the small pools around with a piece of plastic bag. I also dipped the bag in oil and solvent then lightly skimmed it across the surace to create streaks. When the surface was dry a few days later, I glazed the color in, and defined the sky patterns with pale blues.

The lily pads were defined by the lights around them, then developed further with greens. Duckweed helped to weave the patterns together and reinforced the plane of the water. Underwater stems provided a jolt of color. I spattered paint onto the water to imply pollen and dust. When this stage was dry, I reworked the reflections, sky, and vegetation again, balancing tones and continuing to weave together elements of the composition. The lilies appeared, and the first fish surfacing. More drying time and more glazing followed. A second fish demanded to visit the neighborhood. I said sure!

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