Large Scale Abstract Floral Landscape Paintings Sprout After 30 Years Dormant

Large Scale Abstract Floral Landscapes

Blooming Essence Regenerated in Mixed Media Paintings

As a young artist, I painted large scale abstract floral landscapes  What most people don’t know about me is that I created multiple panel murals ~ large scale pastels, 40 x 60 inches side by side. Installed in banks, hospitals, resorts, corporations, universities and private residences, they won me recognition early in my career.  I stopped painting them the summer I turned thirty.

I’ve been working on my book ~ my healing story, why I stopped and how I found my creative voice again. In four weeks I leave for Tuscany. The book has to be finished before I pack. My editor returned the manuscript Friday. “Not much left,” she said. “You’ll be able to finish. You just need a few more details and an ending.”

This morning I wrote the details of my first hours in France. That’s when I began to feel it . . .

The urge to paint was overwhelming.

A watercolor postcard I painted two years ago beckoned me loud and clear.

Hollyhock Series Came to Life in my Studio This Afternoon

FRANCE July 28, 2013 ~ Two years ago today

experimental watercolors
HOLLYHOCK DREAM watercolor postcard

Surrounded by blooming hollyhocks the garden at Mas d’Ariveux felt like a dream. A hideaway where a soul could forget ~ or remember herself ~ in a heart beat,

I stuck my toe in the pool.

Cool and inviting, I let myself down into the water. I swam to the deep end and floated on my back.

Clouds drenched in evening sunlight drifted in slow motion on a light Cerulian canvas. Tall hollyhocks swayed to and fro, puppet silouettes. I rested, letting Tarascon permeate my thoughts.

watercolor study
the garden at Mas d’Ariveaux

How in the world did I get here? It’s a wonder.

excerpt from Finding Joy’s Garden

When I finished writing, the copy spilled onto the next page. I moved the two watercolor postcards to a double spread of their own. That’s when I saw it ~ a large scale painting of the hollyhocks.

watercolor study
watercolor postcard study, Mas d’Arivveaux

The postcard was buried in a drawer of scraps. When I found it last week, I set it aside thinking I might put it on my nightstand. It was still in the heap of papers on my work table.

I really didn’t have time to paint. I needed to finish writing. The next thing I knew, I had cleared the cluttered table and discovered five jars of matching paint I bought at Lowe’s last week ~ exact ly the colors of the watercolor hollyhock sketch from two years ago.

large scale abstract floral
Three verdigris primed canvases from last week waited for me, as if they knew something I did not. With one positioned on the table, the other two called from behind me  ~ a series ~ not just one. A set of three in the same palette, not a triptych ~ a trio of sisters. A triptych is three images tied together, continuing a single design from one to the next. A trio of sisters would each stand on their own.
hand painted fabric
Swatches of hand painted satin I had dug out of the closet two weeks ago  clamored onto the canvas when I finished mixing the paint. Surprisingly they showed me examples of the loose brushwork and colors that were swirling in my head. I plunked them on the table and took the photos.
chalk paint
My custom chalk paint recipe calls for marble dust and a lot of stirring. I created this recipe years ago when I painted gritty textural underpainting for my large scale abstract floral pastels.
large scale abstract floral
A wide wash brush loaded with water soaked the canvas quickly. I dipped it again encouraging the blue paint to run down the canvas. Wet in wet, I let the paint be thick and thin. It would dry overnight.
large scale abstract floral
The sketch felt like coming home to my pastels ~ with a twist. It was just enough to get my hand loose, to help me remember my calligraphy, how it felt to sign my name. The block in needs to be simple, bold areas of light and dark, warm and cool. Since the watercolor was so small and detailed, I wanted a stepping stone to the bolder large scale 46 x 36 inch canvases. 
large scale abstract floral
The second block-in is warmer and deeper than the first. Verdigris paint peeks out from between the warm green leaves and pink red hollyhocks to create the zing.  This is a colorist principle: to balance warm with cool and vice versa.
large scale abstract floral
The third painting shows the cool colors dominant with the warm green as the counter balance. It is striking to note that the green on this canvas is the same as the one on the other two. On the first it appeared to be dark green, beside the light pastel colors. On the second, it appears more neutral beside the red. Yet here it seems much more yellow, especially in areas where it is thickest. This is because color is relative. How it appears to us depends on what is beside it.

See other Large Scale Abstract Landscape Paintings>

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Greve in Chianti ~ Taking Off Soon
Postcard Painting Inspiration
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Mindfullness Painting Project

Mindfullness. Everyone has a mind full of images expressing who we are ~ in a truly deep and meaningful way. You don’t have to be an artist to let them out ~ where they can benefit you. This is something anyone can do.

My Mindfullness Painting Project
turned into a book

A year ago today, I began my 365 Precious Moments project. I set out to make a small painting each day, to rediscover what I had during my French residency. I wanted to do something that would train me fully ~ to live each moment like the French.

I know it looks like I’d quit the project. Truth is ~ it has transformed and taken me with it.

For once in my life, I have enough time and money to do what is truly precious. It took me 15 minutes with a tiny canvas & paintbrush to focus my Creativity, feel centered and ready to take on the world.

DAY 365

Now I find myself living a life where everything is precious ~ every conversation with every person, every brush stroke, every word. For once in my life, I have enough time and money to do what is truly precious.

This doesn’t mean I live in the Taj Mahal and bad stuff doesn’t happen. It means life is precious. I focus on one precious moment of it at a time ~ just like I did on DAY 1, when I took 15 precious minutes to paint, Homage to Monet.

DAY 1 ~ one day at a time

mindfullness painting
DAY 1 Homage to Monet, oil, 6 x 6

I went along for awhile, painting the tiny paintings. I found I could come home from a day filled with running around, errands and meetings ~ and stop for 15 minutes to center myself with a paint brush, let the Creator in, and feel rested and rejuvenated. I learned that my world would wait for 15 minutes while I did this for myself!

DAY 90 ~ a bigger container

Soon I began finding it hard to contain myself to small canvases. I let loose on some bigger ones. I thought I had failed the project because I couldn’t contain myself.

DAY 180 ~ where dreams grow up and learn to fly

By March, I had a vision for a new series of paintings. I cleared the studio of all my past paintings and focused on developing my vision. I thought I had totally abandoned the project.

DAY 240 ~ fusion

I began discovering artworks, created throughout these past 365 precious days, that illustrate a poem I wrote twenty years ago, when I married Jim. I lived into my own poem, without even knowing it.

miondfullness paintings
Mixed Media on Cradled Wood Panels, See how these are made>

Discovering this is reawakening the printmaker I was trained to be. A printmaker is trained to think in evolutions of images. In college, we learned to develop each image, by pulling a series of process prints. Draw, paint, print. Draw, paint, print. With each print, we were taught to ask and answer questions about it’s design.

We were also trained in lettering and typography, and required to create a portfolio ‘book’ of artist’s prints, illustrating a story or theme. My senior portfolio was a series of large-scale, color woodcuts, illustrating song lyrics from traditional jug band music.

DAY 300 ~ regenerating

Why was I so surprised to find myself, creating a book of original, mixed media prints? The images illustrating my poem are snippets of paintings. Some are early stages of paintings, which went on to become something else entirely. It is obvious, remembering who I am, I would yearn to move these images to their next evolution.

mindfullness poetry book
Joy’s Garden Book PURCHASE

DAY 366 ~ in the flow

TODAY . . . I am creating a limited edition of 10 handmade, mixed media prints, based on the images in this book. I am starting with these three. They are based on a painting called Embrace of the Mountain, which is fueling my Tuscany Residency.

DAY 367?

TOMORROW . . . We’ll see where these go from here.

See how I am creating these mixed media editions>
Purchase a copy of my book, Joy’s Garden>

Play Along with the Muses

See how I set up my Watercolor Palette >
Sign up to Win my Tuscan Sun Original Watercolor>
SIGN UP for my VIRTUAL ARTIST RESIDENCY>
Don’t Miss a Post>
See all of my Tuscan Painting Adventure>
Greve in Chianti ~ Taking Off Soon
Postcard Painting Inspiration
Create Your Own Experimental Watercolor Palette and Paint Along>