Thursday, May 28, 2020

White lilies at Eastertide

Easter lilies, tall white blooms that are sold everywhere in the weeks before the Christian holiday of Easter. People use them for decorations everywhere, in offices, entryways, in grocery stores to hardware stores to shopping centers to churches and meeting centers. Since Easter is a springtime holiday observed by mostly everyone in our American culture whether believers or not, these flowers are a symbol of spring. They have a lovely scent, stand nice and tall in formal arrangements, and are a popular potted plant sold every year.
I have a different relationship with this flower, it means more to me than a popular seasonal symbol. There are complicated historical and religious meanings that come with this lily (that would be another essay subject). The white lily has always stirred feelings deep within me that I want to express using paint and my art.
These are a favorite subject of mine, I have lost count of how many paintings I have made of the Easter lilies so far. This year, as usual I bought these at the grocery store where tables of them are displayed for sale. I always buy quite a lot of them and crowd the pots into my studio so that I can draw and paint the lilies from life. I much prefer the experience of drawing from life. It brings such immediacy of emotion to my work.
I began this painting weeks ago while watching my church service with remote viewing (because of the pandemic lockdown) broadcast on my computer screen in my studio. I kind of like painting while listening to church, the mood is right, worshipping God and using my gifts.
The Easter plants I was keeping in my studio finally dropped all the blossoms but I kept painting.  This is oil on canvas 48" by 48". Painting with oils is a new endeavor for me. I formerly mostly painted with acrylic but have decided to switch to oils in the studio. So far this new effort has been a struggle. It is a lot messier, and is taking me a lot longer to execute a painting. Also it would be easier if I didn't insist on painting such large canvases. I am hoping it will all be worth the effort if I just keep working.