The magnolia painting shown here, which is a 9" X 12" acrylic piece on canvas board, evolved over a period of time. The vaguely Asian arrangement of the branch, buds, open blossom, and leaves emerged early in my sketching and changed little. Similarly, the splotchy purple background came early. Other aspects of the piece required more thought--and even some serious wrestling and reworking.
In general, I prefer creamy, buttery whites to purer cool whites. So my first blossoms reflected that preference--and simply looked wrong. Although hints of butter tones remain, I adjusted most of the whites to crisper, cooler tones, touched with blues, purples, and hints of pink. The improvement was dramatic (in my opinion). The open blossom and bud really "popped" and acquired more depth; the yellow ochre tones in the magnolia's center gained drama with the increased contrast; and the entire piece gained a new glow.
The other aspect that required considerable reworking was the "lay" of the lower and side petals of the open blossom. Since I had taken most of my reference photos looking down at magnolias on low branches of a neighbor's tree, I had to modify their size, shape and angles for my intended side view. I often encounter challenges like this in adapting photo information because I am continually snapping photos for possible painting subjects or details without knowing how I might use them in a future painting. Unfortunately, I put the partially completed piece away for awhile while I completed some larger landscapes. As a result, magnolias were no longer flowering here in North Florida as I struggled to correct the perspective. If I could have studied real blooms, my task would have been simpler. Oddly, I couldn't even find artificial magnolia blossoms to purchase out of season, or posing them could have helped.
I am pleased with the result of my reworking and hope you enjoy seeing this painting. Working on an occasional floral refreshes me to return to landscape painting with new energy. And all painting efforts--including wildly unsuccessful ones--provide valuable growth in my skills, vision, and insight.
Question of the day: What creative endeavor enriches your days and gives you pleasure, even when the creative process is difficult--or perhaps at times, precisely because it is difficult?