I thought I’d give you a little glimpse behind the scenes of Lost and Found,the process, the production, the flowers!
I was up on the Gold Coast teaching some classes with Artable Studios, staying in their beaut little apartment in Kirra, A Painted View. There were some lovely dried banksia arrangements in handmade ceramic vases in the apartment, and on a quiet rainy night I decided to try painting them. Although I love to paint flowers, you may have noticed I don't typically do a classic 'still life'! These couple of arrangements were too beautiful to ignore though and this was the seed of Lost and Found.
I had to ask myself why I was avoiding painting still life works (because I was definitely avoiding them!) It was mostly to do with the background and how quickly a ground can look overworked in watercolour. I love how the paper gives the subject space to breathe, so this was one of the ingredients essential to incorporate in this new series. Negative space. I'd just come off the back of producing a different body of work (which you will see in September due to pushed out dates thanks to Omicron!) and this was all created en plein air and had a lovely loose quality to it, so I wanted to keep that rolling also. So in a short space of time I'd settled on a subject, and some parameters to work into as well.
Originally I was thinking I'd step out of exclusively painting natives for this series, but struggled to connect with alternative flowers as my subject. Due to it being late summer, it wasn't ideal timing for many flowers and everything that I was able to source was mostly imported and too 'perfect' looking. It wasn't me. I like imperfect, lumps and bumps, organic flow, natural twists and turns. So I turned to my old tricks and started raiding my garden and roadside areas - which of course are mostly native! Even sourcing 12 different natives at this time of year proved difficult.
I painted each work from life, posing the flowers in simple makeshift vases such as water jugs and instant coffee or salsa jars as well as a few handmade vases from my collection. This was a fun part of the process and something I spent some time on getting just right.
Everlastings in a Moccona jar, in progress.
I ended up really enjoying the challenge of creating the backgrounds and used strong/bright colours in combination with some negative space forms to make them work.
I hung each of the works in progress around the studio so I could see how the series was coming together as a whole. This is a really important part of my process as it really shines a light on what is not working and what is successful, where needs more work and how the colours are coming together. It's also a bit of a sneaky technique to get around overworking, I distract myself by putting one work to the side and doing a little bit of work on another.
Double-stacked easel with Home Grown Hibiscus up the top, almost complete. Garden Bouquet on Mauve below, still a work in progress.
Rowena Martinich came to the rescue with the final selection of flowers, which turned into Garden Bouquet on Mauve as I was really struggling to find something to round out the series. It was a really pretty bouquet of gum blossom and grevillea and I painted it as it was.
The title comes from the ordinariness of the subjects and vessels. Quickly snapped off roadside wattle in that wonky vase I made in pottery class. Grevillea from the neighbour's garden in an old wine carafe. Gum blossom from the driveway down the road in a salsa jar. It wasn't about being fussy and ostentatious in the presentation, more about the homeliness and good energy these simple things can bring.
I loved how bright and fresh my studio felt when it was full of flowers, and paintings of flowers! It truly is quite a simple act placing a few cut flowers in a vase to decorate your home, but the resulting effect can be so amazing. Shifting bad moods, bringing a beautiful scent in, connecting with nature, brightening your space, putting a smile on your face! I hope my Lost and Found series brings this same sensation to your home.
My studio, stacked to the gills just prior to maternity leave.