ABOUT MY PAINTING
Well, where do you start with this?
I hate trying to talk about my painting. Some of us struggle with this, others don’t. Maybe it depends what kind of art painting do? What kind of person you are. What kind of background training or indoctrination you’ve had. Maybe it depends whether it’s for self marketing purposes or not? I don’t know, but there are many preconceptions to encounter, many interpretations, as many responses as there are reasons why people buy art. The art world is a minefield which you enter at your peril. But of course, if you’re an artist you have little choice in this, and an artist character in my novel ‘On Turtle Beach’ expresses some common conflicts.
That’s why, when embarking on my art direction about 16 years ago, rather than fine art, I chose to concentrate on illustration (and yes, the differences are open to a huge amount of interpretation and argument). But basically being paid to illustrate something to meet a brief, and in my case it was nature, plants, animals. Inevitably though, there are few boundaries with creative pursuits, so artist/illustrator I became, expanding my styles from detailed botanical, through to more interpretive work, both watercolour on paper and acrylic on canvas.
Activities have included teaching watercolour classes for ten years, and producing and selling prints and cards of my work. I can talk about art when it’s a case of discussing the processes and techniques, rather than the more nebulous, ponderously philosophical aspects. So, I’m including a work in progress for you, which you might find interesting.
Other examples of my work can be seen at http://www.lynnehenderson.co.uk
I pulled the reference for these from my ‘image bank’ of personal plant photographs, piecing together a composition little by little, with great care and time, to pleasingly fit within a square. Happy with this, the edges of petals were masked to protect them from later washes of darker colour – the soft pale edging being an attractive feature.
The vision I have of the final piece is for it to glow with luscious tapestry-like colours and vibrant green leaves, with a richly dense setting.
The leaves were painted in first, using warm yellow-greens and darker blue- greens, with a soft highlight sheen conveyed on many, using a pale turquoise blue. This blue would also work to complement the coral colours planned for some of the flowers.
Shadows were placed where components overlap each other.
I then started on the pansies, different colourways one by one to gauge colour balance effects. The dark one, beginning in the bottom right, will give a useful visual weight to the final piece and aid visual richness.
I completed all the flowers and buds, using dark reds and purples, with paler pinks and corals for alleviating foil contrasts. The pansy on the upper left is particularly bright with a flash of saturated yellow- I used some artistic licence here to keep the colours vibrating visually. The dark central blotches of the flowers were rather dull and flat, so I added some tinted opaque white with fine strokes of the brush, radiating from the central areas, to render a more velvety texture.
I then drew in a few more leaves for negative shapes to come and realised I needed to extend some of the pansy stems.
Selected colours for the ground were: a warm blue to complement the orange tones; naples yellow variant to complement the predominant purples; some pale pink and peach to suggest out of focus pansies set back from the main; a range of greens for between the leaves, and from which to create softer effect leaves by painting ‘negatively’ around them to bring them out. This process took place step by step, filling in the gaps from bottom to top, working in stages from right to left. I particularly enjoy this process for the gradual transformation that takes place – the building of visual context.
Two impressionistic pansies filled a gap, aiding the viewpoint of looking slightly upwards from close range and giving some visual recession.
These days, I simply enjoy the doing of it –‘art for art’s sake’, you might say. The pleasure in bringing something unique into being, something hopefully beautiful to look at. I don’t do deep and meaningful, I can express things like this more effectively by writing. I write under the name of Lynne Fisher, I paint under the name of Lynne Henderson – it kind of makes practical sense to keep the two creative pursuits separated by a surname, although I would hope that visual observation aids my writing.
In more recent years, I have done some reading on what it means to be an artist (visual artist or writer) and how to work through the inner stumbling blocks, how we see the world a little differently, and how that’s okay, and how to put it to use.
Eric Maisel, American psychotherapist and creativity coach, has written some excellent books on this topic. My personal favourites include The Van Gogh Blues and Fearless Creating, both of which I have found particularly helpful with my journey as a writer.