Trapped in the vines (painting flowers)

"Entangled" 9 x 12 Oil and Chalk Pastel on Drawing Paper
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I've never been too excited to paint flowers just for the sake of making pretty flowers-- I usually need something a little more interesting about the flowers to inspire me. In this case, I was intrigued by these pink flowers who seemed to bloom despite the mass of vines around them-- they appeared somewhat trapped. It reminded me of how I feel sometimes, tied to so many things in life that I have little free time anymore. Yet, I know that if these flowers were cut and freed from the vines, they would wither and die. I think people are the same way-- for all the pressure we feel from our surrounding ties, we would not survive if we were cut completely free from those ties.

To paint this piece, I blocked in the darks and lights using a dark blue oil pastel. I focused mostly on the shapes of the bigger flowers and vines, and left the rest as lights and shadows. I added in various shades of green oil pastel for the leaves and shadows, and blocked the lights in with bright yellow oil pastel. After finishing the flowers with purple and pink oil pastel, I used olive-toned chalk pastel to blend the foliage. I went back over the layers of chalk to draw in more vines and accent a few leaves, and used dark blue shadows to bring out the flowers. I would have liked the flowers to be a little lighter, but it's hard to keep the lights when mixing oil with chalk pastel. I avoided black for the most part in this piece in the hopes of keeping the colors organic.
I used a reference photo taken at the Grand Tradition in Fallbrook, CA this summer on 4th of July. There were lots of pretty things to see there; it was quite an inspiring place for an artist.

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