|Sunflowers and Daisies|
18 x 24
Oil Painting by Pat Fiorello
I read something interesting awhile back that I share with my classes . You don't learn anything when you are in you COMFORT ZONE. Likewise you can't learn anything when you are so worried or fearful about screwing up that you are in what could be called your PANIC ZONE. But in between those 2 states is the LEARNING ZONE. That's where learning can happen- you are open to learn, unattached to the outcome and willing to suspend judgment
( and ignore all those critical little voices in your head). The LEARNING ZONE is where you grow.
While the subject matter of flowers is familiar to me, this particular painting was a bit out of my comfort zone. I used stretched canvas as my surface( I almost exclusively paint on panels), it's larger than most of my floral paintings and the positive shapes are much bigger/very little background or negative space.
I try not to judge during the process- which only gets you upset and frustrated. But afterwards I can step back objectively for a self- critique to see what I learned.
After the fact, I'm not as happy with the outcome as I have been with some of my other paintings, but the value has been in what I learned for myself about what feels right to me. Sometimes it takes what doesn't feel right to validate what does. I was doing this from a set up that someone else had arranged in a group class setting so didn't have an opportunity to change the set up, but if I were to do it again I'd change the 3 sets of sunflower pairs- maybe have 2 sunflowers and another group of 3. I could have spent more time on a compositional plan rather than just diving in and painting what was there ( okay students you caught me doing what I tell you not to do).
I think I'd prefer to make the flowers smaller and have some more breathing room around them in the form of a background. What this format gains in terms of energy and abundance costs something in terms of elegance- at lest to my aesthetic preferences- and that's a personal call. The leaves on the table are darker in the actual painting than in the photo so probably just got washed out from glare off the wet oil, but if they were that light, they would need to be darkened. There are things I like like the free brushwork and the massed daises with some in light and others in shadow So those are some things to consider for next time. The good news is I have the photo's and can redesign a different composition from that, or even get similar flowers and rearrange a set up so there's always the opportunity to paint it again another day.