Friday, 26 May 2017

Painting Tulips

Progress of "Pink Tulips", acrylic, 20" x 10"

Blog 21

Every May for the last couple of years, I made my way to the Tulip Festival in Ottawa to paint the tulips with on site. This year, I knew that my chances to get there were slim, as I work now from Monday to Friday. There were still the weekend, but the places around the tulips are so crowded on the weekends, that it is nearly impossible to set up and paint. I had hoped that I would be able to go on one of my days off but it turned out that the weather was not too cooperative on those days. At the end, I decided to set up my easel in my own backyard to paint a couple of pink tulips. I was busy with planting on the weekend, but Tuesday was finally a day where the weather was decent and I had some hours to paint. Instead of my usual painting buddies our dog Alex kept me company. It could have been a very pleasant painting afternoon. Unfortunately, Alex was not the only company. I slathered a good amount of mosquito repellent on me, added by some organic spray for my hair and Alex' back.

For a short time, I was able to paint in peace. The sun was out and the smell from the repellent seemed to keep most of the unwelcome attackers away. I enjoyed sitting outside, my loyal companion by my side. As the three tulips were all clumped together, I decided to change their placing on my canvas. As they still seemed a little lonely, I added two more tulips on my 20” x 10” canvas. I was struggling with the new tube of Liquitex Magenta as I was not able to mix the colour I was looking for. I had used a different brand before which seemed to produce brighter colour mixtures. This was a good reminder that the same colours from different producers do not necessary look the same or create the same mixes due to the different ingredients.

After an a good hour, dark clouds covered the sky and the we got swarmed by mosquitoes. I did not feel like putting another round of repellent on and gave up my spot for the day. This spring, the number of mosquitoes seems to be especially high. I decided to finish the painting indoors. I took some reference photos that I used to work in my studio. In my finished painting, I changed the position of one of the added tulips again because I did not like the repetition of the two overlapping tulips. The area felt too crowded.

As you can see, you do not need to go far to find a beautiful spot outside. There is beauty everywhere around us. Often the simple things make a much better picture than a vast landscape when you struggle to find a focus.

I hope you found the view into my backyard adventure entertaining. Take the time to cherish the beauty around you. If you enjoy my blog, I would like to encourage you to sign up for the automatic weekly delivery of my blog into your inbox at the bottom of every page at

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