I had in my mind that I wanted to try to create something a bit more expressive with more freedom in my brushstrokes for my next painting. As I was looking online to see a more urban or expressive approach to painting flowers, I came across a wonderful artist called Cy Twombly.
Twombly was an American painter, born during the 20th Century and recently passed away in 2011. He spent most of his working life living in Italy and was interested mostly in abstract expressionism. His large scale works included freely hand scribbled text and were graffiti - like and urban in construction. I really liked the above work "The Rose" (2008) - a series of four large scale paintings - above is no. IV. I can really feel some emotion from the brushstrokes and dripping paint, like bleeding roses - very free and expressive.
I tried to channel this freedom of brushstroke and emotion in my watercolour painting Etoile de Holland - below left- which is the name of the rose I have painted. I also wanted a "bleeding" type quality to come through with the watercolours and I wanted a dark, kind of heartbreaking gothic style of emotion with the black and red colours used. I also used the opportunity to experiment with gum Arabic in parts - just to see what it would do.
I'm not sure of the final outcome - but it was fun to be a lot looser in my style and to try to paint my emotions on paper. I used photoshop to apply some effects for future prints - below right... I thought they turned out pretty well and I'll definitely use some in my print shop.
The cooler Autumn weather is the blooming time for these beautiful types of Roses known as "Cornelia" Roses or Hybrid Musk roses. Their pink musk colour ranges from a vivid pink with yellow centre shading, turning to a light musk pastel pink/ almost white colour as the flower ages. These roses are thornless with bronze green foliage.
My painting of the Cornelia Rose (left) was done a few years ago and was copied from a gardening magazine photo. I was attracted to the pastel colours of the petals, as I had not worked much with a pastel colour scheme, and wanted to see how I could paint the lighter/ almost white coloured flowers using a more muted colour scheme than I normally use. The dark green background helps to bring out the musky pastel pink tones, and I found that I needed to actually incorporate a rainbow of colours into the scheme to highlight the muted pastel tones. I wasn't sure about the outcome at first, as it was a slight departure in style for me at the time, but it sold reasonably quickly and looking at it now, I can see how it captures the musky pastel tones of the original roses.
On the right is a painting of a pink rose macro style by Georgia O'Keeffe. It's not a Cornelia Rose, but I like the modernist way she abstracts the flower form by painting in the macro style. I always try to incorporate this style and approach with my large rose paintings.
The Autumn weather has arrived in Sydney with the mornings and evenings noticeably cooler in temperature. Roses bloom well into Autumn and the Hybrid Tea Rose is the most popular variety of rose. Hybrid Tea is a classification for a group of garden roses that has been crossbred. It has been the world's most popular type of rose for the past one hundred years. The Hybrid Tea roses typically produce only one blossom at the end of a stem, rather than a cluster, such as with other rose varieties. These flowers have been cultivated in almost every colour except for blue.
I can see why the Hybrid Tea rose is the world's most popular variety of rose. They come in such an amazing variety of colour and the way the two hybrid colours blend into each other on the petals is marvellous to observe and try to paint.
Below is an Impressionist painting of Three Roses (left) by Renoir and on the right is a modernist painting by Georgia O'Keeffe of "Abstraction of White Rose" (1927). I'm very interested in exploring the abstraction of nature in the flower forms, so the modernist style appeals to me so much more than Impressionist flower styles..
Sacha Grossel is a practising Visual Artist from Australia.