Since I last wrote I had been spending a lot of time with Maggie our lovely 15 year old white tabby. She was dying of cancer and Dennis and I knew that our time with us was limited.
I lavished her with love, play and attention whenever she wanted it. It was both a sad and a happy time.
Sadly almost three weeks ago she died from a very brief stroke. But she and I had almost two months to indulge in petting, loving, special foods and new games.
To back track, I had received an assignment form a client to do a watercolor for a very large Daffodil flag. I was alone with the cats for four days while Dennis went to the Atlanta gift show. We usually go together but this time I stayed home with Maggie and Louisa and Buster.
I decided that I was painting these flowers for Maggie. That way I could be thinking about her while I painted and be offering these flowers as a tribute to how beautiful she has been in my life.
I did this sketch for the flag after looking at pictures of daffodils and made some decisions about colors.
My first go round was not great. Then I tried another simpler approach
and liked these better. They were small (maybe 5″ tall) but simpler and I liked them.
I also did a swatch chart of all my yellows and then played with them to get used to how they mix, whether they were transparent or more opaque and how they layer.
Mixing is combining two colors while wet either on my palette or dropping a second color onto a wet layer of watercolor. Layering (also called glazing) is basically letting one color dry and then putting another layer of color over it. In all my years of painting I am embarrassed to admit that I had never really done this except spottily as needed. Always too impatient to get right to painting. I discovered how wonderful gamboge yellow is and also cadmium yellow light. They are both transparent and very versaitile. Gamboge has a more orange or peachy hue to the yellow and the cadmium yellow can go from very pale to bright.
Now I had been painting for almost three days and I sent the smaller daffodils to my art director. She liked them but needed to see everything painted injust like my sketch.
Finally round three I decided to paint the flowers really big and use my new # 16 brush. The small ones I used as studies at this point.
And that was the perfect solution. It was fun, and much easier I found than painting small. Also I could stay simpler with more ease.
These measured about 10 ” from stem to top petal. it also gave me a chance to stay loose and still do nice detailing in the ceter. Flower centers are truly amazing when you start focussing on them. That was what Georgia O’Keefe was about. Getting us to really see what was there.
After Dennis got back we sillouhetted the flowers and I also painted some extra leaves. Then I sat with him as we arranged them according to my sketch.
I was tired but happy. Maggie was hanging in there and I had been successful. Painting yellow flowers had been one of the
hardest challenges for me and I had finally figured it out.
Our friend John took this photo about a week before Maggie left us. She looked like a ragamuffin but she was our ragamuffin and a totally loved cat.She was still enjoying life’s
feline pleasures including her new discovery. The joy of drinking water from the sink and tub faucets.
From now on I will always think of Maggie when I am painting flowers. And daffodils for sure will always be Maggie