Sunday, July 6, 2014

Improbable Painted Daisies

Improbable Painted Daisies is a 20x10 oil done from life by Shirley Fachilla.

Actually I don’t know if the flowers were really daisies, much less the painted daisy variety. I found them at the grocery store and couldn’t resist the color combination of deep purple petals and neon green centers. I also loved that they were so perfect… well except for the one that I almost beheaded. That one had to be included in my painting in all its imperfection.
This particular still life let me utilize one of the perks of painting on an untoned white canvas.
See that sort of luminous red and blue in the middle of the vase? Using oil you can only achieve that sort of color if you are floating a transparent oil color (in this case permanent alizarin for the red and a combo of blues for the blue) on a white, untoned canvas. The white of the canvas shows through the transparent paint like the white of the paper shows through a wash in watercolor. But with oil, the color keeps a very high degree of saturation (definition found in ArtfulDefinitions). 
Every once in a while, I have the opportunity to make use of this little trick. I love the look it gives.

On the subject of still life (which rarely comes up in this blog), Brian Sherwin has something interesting to say in one of his latest ArtEdge emails. I think I may agree, at least in part, about the value of symbolism with still life though I do think his symbolic examples may be too straightforward. Personally, I find a great deal of very subtle whimsical symbolism in Carol Marine's little still lifes (whether or not they include her porcelain pig). How about you?


  1. Luscious!
    A joy to look at and enjoy over and over again!
    Another gem Shirley!

  2. The color combination is so perfect for this piece. You painted the vase so nice with the splashes of color!! LOVE it.!

  3. What an interesting thought about transparent colors on an untoned surface. I'm looking forward to experimenting with that concept. A beautiful harmony of colors in your painting! Very appealing. I agree that symbolism, at times, can add another level of interest to a still life, but I still enjoy a rendering that does not necessarily have a deeper meaning. It is enjoyable and enough to contemplate the artist's skill and the beauty of the thing(s) itself.

  4. I like the effect with the transparent colors and the white of the paper showing underneath. Your artistry is so beautifully expressed in this piece. It has a gentleness and a mindfulness that I find very soothing to look at.

  5. Beautiful...a really lovely color harmony with beautiful results.
    What do I think of symbolism in still life paintings? I would hate to tell any artist what to paint but I do know I paint objects which hold interest to me for different reasons but I am more interested in the process of paint itself, the feel, the movement, the color changes, everything that takes place in my heart and mind as I paint, but, also, as I am interested in beauty and not ugly-ness at this stage of my life, I can understand the opinion it could be considered trite.

  6. Looking through your recent blog posts, Shirley, and I am very impressed with your work. It is really wonderful! And I do love these flowers!

  7. This is an incredible still life. i love everything about it. and thank you so much for sharing that little trick of achieving that luminous color!! i have tried for 10 years to do that!!

    and max ginsberg. sigh! what else is there to say! amazing! how incredible.

    thank you so much for your kind words, i so appreciate them. i've missed so much of your work!! it's good to feel like working again. i'm grateful.


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Pieces by (clockwise from left to right) : Susan Harlan, Janet Garner, Shirley Fachilla, Mike Martino and Topper Williams. So many ...