On a recent visit to a supermarket I was taken with some blue lilies, which I thought might make an interesting subject for a new still life painting. How natural they are we’re not too sure of – they certainly struggled to open. However, I did enjoy putting this painting together.
Unaware of the slow opening of the flowers at the time, I decided to work in acrylics in order to capture the lilies on canvas quickly, before their form changed significantly. As it turned out, I was able to spend something like 12-15 hours on the painting, over 4 days in mid-November, during which the appearance of the lilies changed only slightly.
I arranged the lilies in a turquoise ewer/vase on a grey/blue dining room table. I was attracted to the contrasting blues of the lilies, the ewer, the table and the background wall. To add a bit of contrast I included a white wooden chair behind the table and an orange napkin under the vase.
I sat very close to the subject, painting at almost life-size on a 24″ x 18″ canvas. I began by sketching out the painting as accurately as necessary in charcoal. For the first couple of days I focussed almost entirely on capturing the lilies, with minimal attention paid to the background, table and chairs, which I worked up over the last day or two whilst adding finishing touches to the lilies.
This is a painting I particularly enjoyed making. There were points where I regretted choosing to paint in acrylics rather than oils – I sometimes feel that the physical properties of acrylics are working against me – but I’m reasonably happy with the way it turned out.