A Hot Mess of Water Lilies!

"Balboa Water Lilies"
9 x 12 Chalk Pastel on Paper
Click here to view large or purchase
So, every time I take great photos to paint later it turns into a learning experience for me.

We took a little day trip in September down to Balboa Park in San Diego, California.  There wasn't much left of the water lilies after some recent vandalism (a bunch of geniuses decided to have a water gun fight and ended up destroying the lilypond).  It was a strangely hot day for downtown San Diego-- part of a series of heat waves that dogged me throughout the last months of my pregnancy.  I was thrilled to get some pretty photos while down there, particularly of the lilypads and turtles.

I love to paint water, but I forget how time consuming it can be.  There are lots of layers involved, and I ended up using fixative as I layered in the lights and darks in this piece.  I also didn't anticipate how difficult it is to depict those peaceful, floating lilypads.  After a couple of overhauls and many tweaks, the final result eventually emerged. 

One of the things that helped was looking back at some of Claude Monet's water lily paintings.  After studying a few, I realized that I was having difficulty because I was focusing too much on each individual lilypad, rather than the floating mass they created as a group.  Much like it makes sense to step back and paint a whole tree rather than just each individual branch and leaf, it helps to step back and focus on the lilypads as a group rather than individual pieces.

Here's another piece inspired by a lilypond and influenced by Monet:

"Reflection"
18 x 24 Chalk pastel on paper (framed)
Email nicolehilsabeck@yahoo.com if interested in purchasing

If you like garden-themed art, visit my Botanical and Garden gallery!

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