The daffodil trapPosted: September 29, 2016
This past winter I struggled to paint a little bunch of daffodils in a clear glass vase. They were on a table in my studio, set against a white wall. I probably painted six sketches of that subject — turning the vase this way and that to get a better composition — but each one was duller than the next. The whole pile ended up in the garbage. Later that day, when I had somewhat recovered from my frustration, I pulled a few of them out of the trash to have another look. The problem was that there was no contrast in any of the sketches — pale yellow shapes, pale background, spindly green stems. I suppose I could have imagined them set against a dark wall, and that would have helped somewhat, but that didn’t occur to me at the time.
I was reminded of that frustration when I set out to paint these brilliant yellow mums at the market, but today I had two things that helped me avoid the daffodil trap. First of all, the mums were in dark pots — big solid shapes of deep green that surrounded the yellow blossoms. Secondly, the whole grouping of flowers was conveniently set against a big neutral background (boxes, wooden palettes, grey wall) which also helped to make the bright colours stand out. I hope I remember this next winter during daffodil time.