For years I’ve enjoyed tall stands of bright yellow flowers in the Fenway Victory Gardens. They’re lush, a little scrappy, and toss in the wind. They also tie in with two goals I set for myself this year – understanding how to paint with yellow, and revisiting the garden theme I embraced when I was transitioning from printmaker to painter. So….coreopsis it is. This first painting of them is a get-acquainted piece. I experimented with mixing many yellows, tried supporting muted greens and reds, and figured out ways to manipulate brush and roller to describe both their form and the feel of movement that surrounds them. Oh happy day…it worked! Details below. Enjoy.
Technical painting notes: Working with yellow is difficult because it doesn’t provide a range of values. Being a high value in itself, it can only go slightly higher with the addition of white, and lowering the value means adulterating the hue. I used raw sienna, yellow ochre, Indian yellow, and Naples yellow for the warmer notes, sometimes adding burnt sienna. For the lighter, cooler tones I used zinc yellow. A touch of violet helped to create shadows on the petals. To integrate blossoms and leaves, I glazed in shadows with blue violet transparencies and warmed other areas with glazes of Indian yellow. Layering rolled patches with brushwork kept the painting from feeling too controlled, although I believe I need to work that angle more in the next painting.