Friday, March 6, 2009


Once again, rejoicing over the weather is causing me to throw caution to the wind, and celebrate by posting this very merry latest idea.  It is one that has been brewing and stewing in my brain for some time now.  I had planned to wait until the actual painting was completed before going full steam ahead, but I just couldn't wait, not on a day like today.  For tomorrow is sure to be cold again, but today is today!

STEP ONE:  photo of wire armature

STEP TWO (I know I should have made more photos of getting to step two, but I wasn't really thinking as usual.)  I used clay for the stem and leaves with actual bow and curling ribbon for those curly green things that are usually at the base of a flower.  Two light cans are visible, but only one is being used to light my 'flower.'  I am aiming for a 'fantasy' playful rendition of a flower, so the next one I do, I may need to push that a bit more.  But for now I'm excited!
STEP THREE:  I am what the book, Cheese Room Three, calls a Scurrier - one who has tendencies of scurrying to problem solve, instead of taking the time to think, before acting.  I've been doing a LOT of scurrying lately; starting new ideas and paintings, only to get half way into a huge canvas before realizing it isn't really a direction I want to continue.  My husband gave me a little pep talk, brought on by the mound of half finished paintings leaning against my studio wall, and suggested I might not be really thinking these ideas through before jumping into a painting.  I decided he was right, and that I would from now on, (or until I can no longer hold back the scurrier) start doing sketches and oil studies on paper before proceeding to canvas.  Besides, this set up has many potential compositions to explore, AND I've really been obsessing over Euan Uglow lately and doing painting exercises (will post later) to study his approach, so I thought this would give me a great opportunity to try mixing drawing with the painted surface.  I used Conte crayons for the sketch, which is 6x6, then sprayed with a fixative before painting on top.
STEP FOUR:  Could not be happier with the outcome of this oil sketch and plan to continue this on a 10x10 canvas.  I feel in many ways this is what I was after when I started my giant multi-yellow present painting LAST spring.  I've spent a year searching for what to paint since that incomplete painting.  Is it possible that an idea wants to be expressed so much, that it will hang on and torture you for a YEAR until it is figured out?  Looking at it now, it is so simple, what took me so long to act on this very obvious way for me to interpret Spring's first glorious show of color here in Chicago? I suppose sometimes the most obvious is the most overlooked.  Funny too, the Dandelion is certainly an overlooked flower, and just like my idea that refused to go unrealized, the Dandelion is certainly a persistent little thing!  Tomorrow there may be snow, but for today may there be Dandelions! 


Anita said...

I too have been thinking of dandelions but not at the flower stage - want the fluffy heads! And I am a scurrier too. Need to learn to plan more.
really nice oil sketch!

FCP said...

Thanks for sharing your painting as well as your thoughts behind it. Your flower is truly a gift of spring, and the promise of fresh, newly inspired ideas.

Kimberly Kelly Santini said...

I am so in love with this idea - the concept of gifting becomes completely organic. It's a fabulous idea and a truly lovely painting - can't wait to see what comes next!!

Karen Appleton said...

Thank you Anita, I'm glad not to be alone in the scurrier category!

Faye, I've loved your thoughts on inspiration you've posted on your blog. Spring is a great time of awakening our senses to new ideas!

Kimberly, thank you so much!! I am totally in love with this idea too! :)

Jennifer said...

Oh. My. Gawd!

Perfection! Says a fellow scurrier.
My husband is also a planner, very methodical. I guess that makes us Scurrier and Bides.

Helen Read said...

Delightful, Karen. I think you are on to something! Your idea (even if percolating for a year) is lovely!

Karen Appleton said...

Yeah! Scurriers unite! Thanks Jennifer, all the scurriers should form a support group or maybe support blog!

By the way, I gave the wrong title for the book, it is actually Who Moved MY Cheese, instead of Cheese Room Three.

Thank you Helen!

joanne said...

Karen I am so excited for you! This looks like a wonderful direction -it all makes sense. One year is NOT a long time -some ideas need a long ripening time to come to fruition. I wish I were more of a scurrier!

Alia El-Bermani said...

This post gives me courage to share process. Thank you.

Karen Appleton said...

Thank you Joanne, I'm so glad to get your encouragement! I know the scurrier in me needs to learn patience! :)

Alia, I would LOVE to see your process. I find it fascinating to see how other artists work. We all think and approach painting differently, so blogs have the potential to really be a source of inspiration for us all. I can't wait to see what you post!!!