Once again, I couldn’t resist the blooms from the Aztec Dahlias booth at the St. Helena Farmers’ Market. Their intense colors and exuberant forms were just too delightful to resist. Omar, who is one of the owners of the farm, was running the booth that day and was, as always, very friendly and helpful.
I decided that using a variety of containers for the flowers would give me more compositional options than putting them all into one vase. It was also more fun to paint. It took me a moment before I could bring myself to lop the stems as short as I needed them to be, hoping that my idea would look as good in reality as it did in my head. Next, I went digging through my paper collection, pulling out the pieces that really popped with the colors in the flowers. An old paper shopping bag even made it into this setup.
Here’s a studio shot that shows my palette (a rolling kitchen cart from Home Depot) with glass over the butcher block top), easel and still life box. I find that wooden wine boxes come in handy, using them as mini-pedestals and to adjust the height of my setup. As you can see, the lights are fairly intense, which means I have to paint quickly before the heat ruins the flowers. I like that added bit of motivation to keep me from getting too caught up in the details.
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