brenna george
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Painting Botanicals
Spring 2015 I painted, Botanicals, a daily series of 9” x 12” oil painting en-plein-air of the plants in my yard. It was slow 60's Happening art. Here I am in the moment and here is this plant in the moment and we are both going to be slow and sit together for a block of time. I am interested in time passage an non-photographic approach - not a perfect moment but a human sitting with a plant and experiencing, wind, insects and what ever else happens in that time together. Wet-on-wet techniques and the assurance of another canvas tomorrow enabled loose images to emerge. I photographed the paintings in situ, wrote about the paintings and my plein-air experiences. I posted this daily on my blog Art in Process.
Botanicals #1     
Wednesday, 6 May 2015         With paint I am using a botanical print style meets messy human mind. Botanicals #2     
Thursday, 7 May 2015
     There are lots of large bumble bees with orange bums going under the dead leaves. Botanicals #3     
Friday, 8 May 2015     It is a windy day and the fragile flower on it's thin stock shutters and bends. It wavers back and forth settling on different poses. Botanicals #4     
Saturday, 9 May 2015     The dark purple branch weights the painting as the rest is lacy and floating. Botanicals #5     
Sunday, 10 May 2015     This ball of blossoms on a stick jiggles back and forth in the wind. Botanicals #5     
Sunday, 10 May 2015        I am concentrating on angles and comparative proportions. The plum tree is still in full bloom and a large butterfly is drinking it's nectar. 
Botanicals #7       
Tuesday, 12 May 2015         It is a pale painting, the sky is pale with clouds and the blossoms are pale. I go with soft smeary strokes. Botanicals #8       
Wednesday, 13 May 2015
       Rabbits hop and nibble their way through the yard. It snows on me as I use a new softer brush which gives me a slapping stroke with the white. Botanicals #9       Thursday, 14 May 2015       It is so simple the long stock leading to the shocking red bud, so paint it simply, only once not going back into it. Botanicals #10        Friday, 15 May 2015      It is so cold I am wearing 2 hats, 2 coats and 2 pairs of pants. I look like a plump mushroom sitting here. I am painting a single red tulip from top to bottom. I don't want any complexity because I don't want to problem solve. Botanicals #11      
Saturday, 16 May 2015       This is a "everybody get in the picture" painting, chives, tulips and pansies make a more is more image. Botanicals #12       Sunday, 17 May 2015       The ground cover is pine needles and strands of dead bleached grasses. I am making the poky stroky feeling of this cover and the softness of the violets patterning through it. Botanicals #13       
Monday, 18 May 2015       I painted the optimism of spring by using a soft bright pallet and a churning directional movement. Botanicals #14       
Tuesday, 19 May 2015       The dark branches of the chokecherry tree and lilac bush swirl around. A rabbit hops by. The rain creates soft lighting. Botanicals #15       
Wednesday, 20 May 2015       I stroke on colour then brush line drawings on top.  This look accentuates the hiddenness of the violets in the grass. Botanicals #16       Thursday, 21 May 2015        I am painting an accurate rendering of the structure of the violet plant and then surrounding it with dirt and a confetti of pine needles and flattened dried grass. Botanicals #17       
Friday, 22 May 2015       Lightening storms, icy rains and high wind warnings today so I am in my studio today painting the yellow roses that I was given for Mother's day. Botanicals #18       Saturday, 23 May 2015         Snow in mid-May so I am making another Mother's Day rose painting. I am lost for hours in the folding petals of the roses. Botanicals #19       Sunday, 24 May 2015       Butter cream texture of thick paint is pushed by bristle brushes leaving the remnants of the joy of strokes. A fat bee circles by. Botanicals #20       Monday, 25 May 2015        The apple tree is an intimate and unusual space. The bottom has a swing, slide and trampoline. The top is blossoms and leaves and painted with a loose smashing of brush strokes to create a wild far reaching feel. Botanicals #21       
Tuesday, 26 May 2015        I make a painting of swirling bits and pieces with a dropping out of existence in the middle. Botanicals #22       
Wednesday, 27 May 2015        It is a happy wallpaper like circular swirling of flowers, as the flowers and I are uplifted by the warm spring sun. Botanicals #23       
Thursday, 28 May 2015       The dandelion leaves form a circle and each flower is circular. The active edges and circles seem to spin contrasted with the pink plum blossom stems strewn in the dirt that seem still. Botanicals #24       
Friday, 29 May 2015        The intense greens in the shadows give it a jungle aesthetic. I like the cookie cutter feel of the pale leaves against the dark background. Botanicals #25       
Saturday, 30 May 2015       The painting is full of motion as petals, leaves and branches all take off in different directions yet the subtle pallet choices keep the image calm. Botanicals #26       
Sunday, 31 May 2015       I paint the two houses bright so your eyes ping pongs back and forth between them and the lush explosion of leaves, branches and flowers settles between the houses. The postman said this was a really good painting! Botanicals #27       Monday, 1 June 2015       Canada Columbine flower has tall five pointed crowns so I find myself nick naming them the "alien queens".  I accentuate the hovering spaceship nature of them by painting the stem lightly. Botanicals #28       Tuesday, 2 June 2015       I paint soft like the day. Lilacs and chokecherry drip with rain. Botanicals #29       Wednesday, 3 June 2015       Canada Columbine companions the chives Botanicals #30       Thursday, 4 June 2015       I paint bold and fast. The 5 petalled white flower is clean and pops out as the main focus. Elm tree seeds mix with pine needles making an xoxo patterning. Botanicals #31       Friday, 5 June 2015       I like the spray of strawberry buds, cone seeds, pine needles, elm seeds and dandelion seeds. It is a more-is-more painting. Botanicals #32       Saturday, 6 June 2015        I choose a simple stand alone dandelion under the pine tree. I paint dark and pull the forms out with lighter colours, The pine cones whole and eaten frame the plant. An ant is framed drinking inside the flower. It has a frame within a frame. Botanicals #33       Sunday, 7 June 2015        Lilly of the Vally poisonous but oh so pretty and sweet sweet smelling. I am still under the two tall pines. I create a nestling feeling by almost outlining the plant grouping. Botanicals #34       Monday, 8 June 2015       A quite day and a quiet painting. Lilly of the valley flower bells cluster at the centre. A skinny bee checks them out. I like the fatness of the wide leave contrasted with the thin grasses. Botanicals #35       Tuesday, 9 June 2015        This pansy greets me every time I enter the house. I paint a large iconic image like an Andy Warhol flower print. It's large head lures you to its centre with airport runway markings leading in. Botanicals #36       Wednesday, 10 June 2015        Under the pines the Lilly of the Valley perfume wafts around me and a different postman this time says, " Your painting is Awesome!" Botanicals #37       Thursday, 11 June 2015       I focus on deliberate one-go brush strokes. With this drawing with the brush, pencilbrush style, I make a flat and bouncy image of the side door pansy patch.
Botanicals #38       Friday, 12 June 2015       I am in the garden where the chives flower and the dandelions seed. This wall of impenetrable lush life traps the viewer but two bees navigate through, one drinking in chive nectar and the other flying with legs dangling. Botanicals #39       Saturday, 13 June 2015       I emulate salt water taffy using butter-cream thick paint and pastel colours. I can't take the pansies seriously. I like their determined faces all pouty and grumpy but they make me laugh as they are but small flower heads. Botanicals #40       Sunday, 14 June 2015        Purple pansies.The dark purple heads float in a crest like pattern. This painting is a soft gentle environment with mad disapproving little pansy heads floating about. Botanicals #41       Monday, 15 June 2015        Bees, this painting is about the bees. The bottom half is blue green chives, the top is yellow green grasses and the middle is soft bouncy pillows, purple chive flowers, that bees roll about on and eat snacks. Botanicals #42       Tuesday, 16 June 2015        I am painting in the gloaming. The bees are slowing down for the evening. A few are getting their last sips of chive nectar for the night. Botanicals #43       Wednesday, 17 June 2015        Thin paint with lots of oil gives a transparent look to the chive patch. The City of Winnipeg sprayed Malathion into my yard last night. Botanicals #44       Thursday, 18 June 2015       A red rose from the dance recital - I like the red heart of the painting being boxed in by the cellophane wrapper. Botanicals #45       Friday, 19 June 2015        The other red rose from the RWB dance recital - The red rose centres the painting solid and heart like with leaves and cellophane border lacy around it. Over all a simple, solid and still image yet the strong red and white combination shouts, "Oh, Canada!" Botanicals #46       Saturday, 20 June 2015        Pineapple Chamomile, dirt, rock chips, clover and Shepherd's Purse form this back alley weed patch - this is a tiny magnified world.  I paint delicate with hundreds of strokes and dots creating a confetti fireworks effect that creates a back alley fairy magic feeling. Botanicals #47       Sunday, 21 June 2015       
The tiniest bee flits to every pineapple chamomile flower and drinks at each stop. I paint the soft dirt colour in the bright sun with it's dashes of dark shadow. I am totally enjoying painting many many pink hearts across the canvas. I make a delicate gentle image of the ecosystem of the many tiny plants. Botanicals #48       Monday, 22 June 2015       Back Alley - I reduce the image to a few colours and line. I am making a sunny image of intense lime and yellow colour, a happy fragmented bouncy piece that holds scattered bits of information. Botanicals #49       Tuesday, 23 June 2015       The crack in the cement. I always like making x-ing patterns so I enjoy the crossing lines of weeds and the crossing thin stems of the Sheperd's purse. I use a fan brush for most of this work and it gives a light swoopy motion to the work. Botanicals #50       Wednesday, 24 June 201       The Irises by the fence were here when we moved in ten years ago so who knows how old they are. The leaves are so tough but the flowers so fragile with a life span of only a few days each year. Soft, pastel and sculptural I create an empty floating object. Irises are like that big and sculptural but weightless. Botanicals #51       Thursday, 25 June 2015       The iris was a bud yesterday and today it is open. I paint it as a diagonal ark almost like a shooting star across the night sky. In doing so I accentuate the fleeting and spectacularness of this flower that will only last a day. Botanicals #52        Friday, 26 June 2015        I am getting sad as I know this series has to end. I have too many other responsibilities. The clover flowers slip into the dark green of the leaves and grasses. Pink dashes downward. It is poky sweet and a bee at the top bends a clover with it's fuzzy weight. Botanicals #53       
Saturday, 27 June 2015           It is warm and the bees are loving the sweet lawn clover nectar. I am so overwhelmed and sad that I am stopping this series today. I have a hard time coming out to paint as I know it is my last one of this set. This is a vibrant green painting with sloppy flowing lines showing the clovers receding in the distance. jquery lightbox onload by v6.0m