Saturday, December 14, 2019

Safari Sunset

I bought these flowers from the supermarket with the idea in mind that I was going to use them in a still life. The following morning, I set up the lighting and took numerous pictures.

This painting is still available, click to view the auction.

When I was trying to select a photo to make a painting from, there were only a few that caught my attention. Basically, I took dozens of photos and there was really one photograph that I thought was any good.

That’s how it goes sometimes.



When I was done taking pictures of the flowers, I changed the water and added the plant food to it. I put them on my kitchen table and started cooking.

I like to make large batches of food so that I can just reheat it for dinner during the week. I made a batch of bread dough.


When I cook, I normally don't just make one thing, I get a number of dishes going at once. In addition to the dough, I made a batch of vegetarian chili, and I baked an acorn squash. By the way, you you can roast the seeds from the acorn squash like you would pumpkin seeds.

Anyway, the sun came out while I was cooking. I have a large kitchen window and it’s nice working in there when it’s sunny.

As I said, I placed the vase of lowers on the kitchen table and I liked the way the sunlight created a shape on the wall behind the vase of flowers. This scene was better than the photographs that I took earlier, and it just happened spontaneously!

There were still clouds in the sky, so I knew I had to act fast and take a picture before the sun disappeared. I cleared off the clutter I had on the table and then I took a handful of pictures.

There’s something about the composition that reminds me a little of a Matisse painting. I think it’s the way the kitchen table is cropped which breaks the table top into flat geometric shapes. The pattern of sunlight on the wall also creates more flat shapes as well.
Safari Sunset
Acrylic on canvas board
8"x10"
Chris Breier 2019 ©
Here’s a Matisse painting of a vase of flowers on a kitchen table. It’s similar in that it incorporates only the corner of a table. I think he may have copied me ; )

In my YouTube video at the top of this post, you can see that I build the painting up in layers. I don't worry too much about getting it exactly right in the beginning. After I tone the canvas with Burnt Sienna, I just block in the basic colors as I go.

You’ll notice that I repaint the background a couple of times. There was a point where I realized that there wasn’t enough contrast in the background. To fix this, I painted the sunlit wall a lighter shade of white, and the shadows a shade darker. The painting started to come together when I softened the edge where the sunlight meets the shadow shape.

I spent a lot of time studying the shapes of those dark burgundy leaves as I was painting them. They’re unique, I never seen them in a bouquet before. I thought it would be easy to figure out what plant they came from, but it took a good deal of Googling to get the answer.

I think they may be Safari Sunset Leucadendron, although mine seem to be a darker burgundy than the ones in those photos. The lower leaves have a touch of green to them, especially underneath the leaves.

I’m not certain that’s what the name of the plant is, but I like it as a title.


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