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I’m still “studying the masters” and playing with style. Most recently with two contemporary artists.

The first is a floral inspired by a David Peikon painting of pink dahlias. I love the way his flowers and surrounding garden fill the whole space, a riot of colors, lines and shapes. I found I enjoyed painting that tangle of leaves of the left as much as, or more so, than the flowers in the center. I didn’t try to copy his leaves but created my own, each shape leading to the next and the next, making it up as I went along. The same with the garden on the right. I tried to keep this side lighter, hinting at what was there and using less detail. I’m happy enough with this to want to frame and display.


I’ve discovered that I like painting detail in a complex design, that I can get lost in it. I’ve also found that I like vibrant colors that fill the whole paper leaving little white space.

That’s probably why Shirley Trevena’s work and her book Taking Risks with Water Color caught my eye. In her book she details how she painted “Pink Pears Red Flowers.” I tried to follow along but kept getting ahead myself. I didn’t want to copy hers, but use some of her techniques and basic design, simplified somewhat, as seen below.


I liked how she started with the rich, red blossoms on the blank white paper and worked outward, filling up the space, placing objects and background patterns, often from her imagination rather than what’s actually before her.

I used some of her techniques to create my first still life drawn from objects collected around my home: an African violet and orchid in bloom, two oranges in an antique bowl, a clay figurine, and a crocheted doily. I wanted the cobalt blue to be the unifying color, and a mix of warmer hues of yellow, gold, orange, and sienna as the complement.



When I finished painting the main objects, I created the surrounding background from my imagination, inspired by the way Trevena breaks up her still life,s with bands of color and patterns.Thus the coral background and strip at the top left and the purple/yellow combo on the right.

While some parts of the painting I like more than others, altogether I’m pleased with my first still life drawn from real life, from things that I love.