Standing in front of a big red canvas this week, intending to start another water lily painting, I was excited and nervous. I enjoy the physicality of working on a large scale, but there is always a little voice in the background…what if I just waste a lot of paint, or can’t find a place to exhibit the work, or shouldn’t paint water lilies because Monet did it all? You know the voice of the critic, right? Many people hear this tune though the words may be different.
Well, I just had to brush that critic off my shoulder. Put on Danielle LaPorte on the stereo to throw some sparks. Opened the studio curtains and squeezed out paint. Grabbed a big brush and got to work.
Once I got started, muscle memory of the water lily shapes kicked in. I started by blocking in the darks in the water and the shapes of the flowers. Then I added the cool blues and greens of the lily pads to calm down all that red. Although I stopped several times to return with fresh eyes, the piece came together fairly easily. I paint in a series because repetition allows subject matter to become part of my visual vocabulary. Then I have a foundation for experimenting with variations in formats and color palettes.
I hope the viewer who stands before this piece will feel calm and energized among the water lilies.