Sunday, November 19, 2017

A Fingerpainting in Oil: Offering to Apollo

The beautiful and radiant sunflower (helianthus L.,  is from the Greek Helios meaning sun, and the Greek anthus meaning plant) is a member of a genus of species comprised of about 70 plants.

Artists, dreamers, and gardeners have been enchanted by the bright and cheerful disposition of the majestic sunflower--painting, writing about, being inspired by and growing them. They are so lovely when planted in groupings with the taller golden ones in the back and the vermillion types in the front. Such groupings are never rigid though. The rebellious ones turn their backs on the sun. And some sunflower heads are so laden, they droop.

"Garden at Vetheuil"
Claude Monet

A few weeks ago, in October, my family and I traveled to Fausett Sunflower Farms in the Appalachian foothills of Dawsonville, Georgia just to see the sunflower fields. Well, for me to see the sunflowers. Ha!

We stayed in nearby Dahlonega, a busy-but-not-too-busy college town. Dahlonega is gorgeous and clean, and I highly recommend you visit. Lodge at one of the bed and breakfast inns downtown; there's a lot to do all within walking distance.

We headed out on Saturday morning to Dawsonville. It was amazing to see golden yellow undulating across fields before we reached the entrance to the farm. We knew we were in the right place!

The late morning sky was cobalt and clear. There was a slight breeze which was welcome as it was humid and in the 80s. Orange butterflies skittered from big yellow flower to big yellow flower. Bumblebees were industrious, crawling across the heads and then vanishing.  A few blue morning glories curled their way up the trunks of the helianthus. Wild purple asters and blue chicory blanketed the earth next to a small stream. We all took some lovely photos, bought some honey, and lotion bars. We would have left with some freshly cut sunflowers but there was nowhere to store them for the remainder of our trip.

Several weeks later and I have finally gotten around to painting sunflowers. I worked in oil using my fingers. I have found this is the best way for me to achieve the impressionistic look I so dearly love.

"Offering to Apollo"
24 x 30, fingerpainting in oil

Finger painting naturally evolved. One day, I had cleaned all of my brushes but saw an area I wanted to correct. I did so with my fingers. And then another stroke. Yet another. The look was exactly what I had wanted to achieve...the little taches. The paint is thick and juicy, sensuous. It glows and there's tremendous depth.

Detail . This portion makes another great composition which I am going to paint. Always look for compositions within compositions.

I work with cadmium, cobalt and lead paints, so I do wear gloves. Would you consider finger painting?

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