Painting Standing Up and Upside Down! (San Fran)

11:08 AM

California Poppies - Detail
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If you've been reading Painted Thoughts blog for any time at all, you know that I worship at the altar of details. Love, LOVE, LOVE details! It is in my nature to sit down and paint the finest of details for hours on end.

It's also crazy making.

When I don't have the level of detail I think I "need" in a photo reference or worse, when half way through the painting, I'm done. Finished. O.V.E.R. I.T. And it makes me crazy.
Such gorgeous oranges, yellows and pinks!
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Then I rush through to the end and invariably regret it afterwords.

One of the things that travel sketching as well as sketching on location has taught me is there is no time for detail-worship. You go for big shapes, smaller shapes in shapes and then a few well chosen details and you're off to the next location.

Yes, at first it bothered me to leave out those scrumptious details.

Until I realized that sometimes less is more. It's kinda fun to paint an image and leave just enough out that the viewer can and does interpret the work differently from me.
So easy to get lost in all that detail!
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Now, with this said, my default position is to get into the details waaaay too soon in a sketch or painting. I've had to get fairly "inventive" to outsmart my detail-loving-self.

I painted this standing up with the sketchbook turned upside down with a number 10 round with one hand tied behind my back!

....oops, wait, no, just kidding. I didn't tie my hand back.

Once the entire painting was dry, I sat down and painted in a few of the details—still using the #10 brush. I had to restrain myself from putting in every crinkle and wrinkle in those sweet, happy flowers.

And yes, it was hard not to go overboard with the details given to my desire to paint every stamen, shadow, crinkle, and hair.
Full Spread of California Poppies
11 x 8.5 inches
Click to Enlarge
I am so glad I didn't. These flowers were so beautiful swaying in the breeze with their bright happy faces lifted to the sun. We saw these all over San Francisco...in gardens, by utility poles, in sidewalk crevices. It didn't matter where they were, they were beautiful.

These are not as loose as some would paint, but for me, given my proclivity for painting every single detail, this is loose! I still fed my desire for detail by including "just enough" detail to balance out the loose. I'm a happy girl!

Join me in my happy dance, won't you?!
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I hope you'll consider joining me on "An Imaginary Trip to San Francisco!" The "trip" begins on August 16th. Click here for more information and I hope to see you there!

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17 Creative Thought(s)

  1. Laure, these are just beautiful. I love the looseness. I see detail through the water drips and runs. I love them...

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    1. Thanks, Kelly, they were a lot of fun to paint!

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  2. how beautiful! Love the punchy, pretty colors!

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    1. Jenny, I think that's what I like best—those gorgeous colors! The last bloom on the right was suppose to be yellow—oops! I was on a roll and totally forgot!

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  3. Oh they are lovely. You made them look crinkly and paper thin like they really are. When you see them waving in the breeze you don't see all the details you talked of putting in.. just the color and how delicate they look and you captured that perfectly in these. Dancing the Happy dance with you. :))

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  4. I know exactly how you feel about details! I have a hard time knowing when to stop. I love California poppies and they really are paper thin and crinkly.

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    1. It seems a lot of us are addicted to the details, Chris. I know I love them but they can be my undoing sometimes. Thanks for commenting!

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  5. I am dancing. Maybe I should get a #10 brush and get on my head. :) Beautiful poppies too.

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    1. NOW, that would be a feat, Lisa!! Strange the things we have to do to outsmart ourselves.

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  6. Gorgeous color, Laure--your experiment worked! I think it's funny that I'm not the only one who has to trick herself into doing things!

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  7. Absolutely beautiful!!!! Colors-Details Fabulous.. I love your inspiring blog..

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  8. I love Love LOVE your poppies! Just enough detail. I have the same issue too - I'm trying to learn to see what's important and what can be left out, but it's hard.

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  9. Your poppies are definitely doing a happy dance. I, too, know all too well how hard it is to leave out the details. ... and yet I'm sometimes so pleased with what happens when I force myself to work quickly.

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  10. Since I going to San Fran with you starting today...an am on an overload of excitement...this poppy page you did has all the ingredients for grand impact...how the design and colors flow make for such liveliness and joyful dancing feel---I have just found out through research at UofCal Berkely by an expert at this ancestor stuff, that the woman naturalist, painter named Sarah Plummer was the one who instigated and had the Poppy named as the State Flower for California..it was the first news I had ever had of an artist in the family...and what a thrill..there was even found an old photo of her in her studio with her husband--see some of her work propped up and those time velvet curtains around...Oh I hope her spirit will be inspiring for me...there's a mountain named for her in Arizona, too.....so you can see this trip will be an 'overload of excitement" continuing....winna

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