Thursday, 19 July 2012

Fuchsia "Winston Churchill"


This painting just had to happen one day. I have several hobbies one of which is growing Fuchsia's, and I have about 300 plants covering about 60 varieties. I have a number of favourites but one that has been right at the top of the list for a long time is called "Winston Churchill". Why it was named after him I'll never know because it doesn't typify my understanding of the man. This flower has a very frilly double bloom and is far from hardy, neither quality being very Churchillian. 


Not only do I love this plant but Churchill is my all time favourite hero. As some of you may know, another of my hobbies is photography, so you can imagine just how many fuchsia photo's I have. So it just seemed natural that sooner or later my favourite fuchsia, named after my hero, and photographed by me a zillion times, should make it's way onto my art easel. 


This painting provided a number of challenges and new experiences. It is the first 'serious' painting I've done with both my new Sceptre Gold brushes and using Arches paper. While the painting experience was great with both brushes and paper performing beyond my expectations, the drawing experience was far from good. Drawing a relatively small portrait on a very rough paper like Arches was far from easy and I can't believe I didn't think about this before I started. The paper was very scratchy under the pencil and any form of serious blending was next to impossible. Still, a reasonable likeness was achieved, and I'm pleased about that.


If any of you are interested in seeing some of my flower photo's there is a small slideshow in the sidebar, but I also have a web page on my site showing flowers in my garden from every month of the year. A year in my garden. And for anyone interested in growing Fuchsia's I will soon be adding a page about training Standards to the ones about Taking Cuttingskeeping them bushy and over-wintering.





27 comments:

  1. This is a wonderful painting John, put together with thought and it works so well, love it. (As you mention Winston Churchill thought I would add - about 4 years ago I was in the presence of his grandson...as you see I haven't said 'met' as such, but certainly was in his presence by virtue of carriage driving on the local Filleigh Estate...enough said...)

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    1. Thank you Ann. I love the sound of the carriage driving on the Filleigh Estate ... how 'English' is that? Great fun!!

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  2. I love the combination of your hobbies and painting. You really excelled on this one! The flowers pop off the paper and the drawing is so real, I felt it was a photo. Fuchsia's don't work well for me in Texas, but I find them so beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. How lovely to see you here Trudy and thank you for your generous comment. I'm guessing your summers get to hot for Fuchsia's though I have heard of some successes by using techniques such as double-potting to keep the roots cooler.

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  3. This is really nice John. The colours work well together and with the monochrome drawing. The whole piece has a vintage quality to it which is appropriate for the subject matter.

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    1. Thank you very much Keith, I'm glad you like it. I hadn't considered the vintage quality until you mentioned it but I see what you mean.

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  4. John, may I say this is one outstanding piece. The combination of both the grayscale drawing and those colorful fucshias are different and oh so pleasing to the eye. BJ

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    1. Thank you Barbra Joan, and coming from such a skilled flower artist as yourself I'm flattered.

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  5. I love the combination of the drawing and the colourful flowers! I can imagine how hard it was to draw on Arches. Beautiful result!

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    1. Oh, I so wish I'd thought about drawing on the Arches before I'd started. Thanks Judy. ;-)

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  6. A reasonable likeness? Are you playing? I thought it was a black and white photo! You do so sell yourself short sometimes John, lol!
    I love the design of this - those brightly coloured flowers in contrast to the black and white photo - sorry - portrait!
    Fantastic! :0)

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    1. You're such a sweetie Sandra ... you always put a smile on my face. I'm glad you like it, thank you. ;-)

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  7. Hi there John!... How fitting!... Red and Blue Fuchsias on white water colour paper.... with Winnie's wonderful most always serious... almost fretful gaze! Two strong references to the Empire!Perfect!

    Churchill was once said: "that without a vast uncertainty, life would lack a quality of adventure."

    Your boldness in combining these very difficult renderings on water colour paper to me... signify... "your own...finest hour"!

    Well done John! A gem!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,
    Bruce

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    1. Hi Bruce, I can't tell you how much I appreciate you comment. I love that quote of Churchill's. How can one man come up with so many profound statement's? My 'finest hour' ... it's certainly one of the best paintings I think I've ever done.
      Thank you very much Bruce.
      Warm regards
      John

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  8. Fantastic picture, John. I grow fuchsias, but not on the scale you do.

    Churchill is my all time favourite hero too. We were down in his home,Chartwell,a short while ago and I have photographs I took there which I intend use as reference.

    You were really brave with this one, as each portion is brilliant and you risked getting one wrong and messing the whole thing.

    Really think this picture is too good to leave languishing.

    Really enjoyed this, John. Thank you.

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    1. Hi John, I haven't managed to get to Chartwell yet, but it's high on my 'to do' list. You really hit the nail on the head with regards to risking getting a portion wrong and messing up the whole. It took me a while to decide in what order to do things and it was my confidence in the two media that made the decision for me. I painted the flowers first because I knew I would find them hardest, then the portrait, and finally filled in with a few simple leaves. I learned a lot about where my confidence lies.
      Thank you for your insightful comment ... it is greatly appreciated.

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  9. Hi John,

    It sounds like you had quite a challenge, but the outcome was worth it. I, too, thought Churchill was a photo. Your flowers are lovely. Beautiful work.

    Sue

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    1. Thank you very Sue, I really appreciate it.

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  10. John, this is so beautyful! Isn´t it a lovely paper to paint on! When I tried it out a few weeks ago; I said "I´m in love!" Didn´t you think that you had more control over the colour, painting on Arches? I did.Pity it´s so expensive though!
    And John; you are far to modest over your painting skills. This flower is gorgeus! I also showed Churchill to my mother and she also said it looked like a photo. You are so very skilled with your drawing! You are a pro!
    I am thinking of making a drawing of my brothers kid soon. He is to be two years in october. I do not think that I will make such a good one as you, but I will try anyway. :)

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    1. I really appreciate your lovely comment Catharina, thank you. Yes, I felt much more in control using the Arches, and it made me feel much more confident about what I was doing. But it's useless for drawing on - LOL. I'm looking forward to seeing the portrait of your nephew when you do it. ;-)

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    2. Yes I can understand that you had problems when drawing on Arches. But I´m happy you didn´t try earlier so that I could get to see this splendid result! But I don´t understand how you made it!?

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  11. Oh John exquisitely painted fuchsia with oh so many links and connections here on all levels. Just as it should be too... an artist making use of his life experiences and interests to develop his artwork. Just wonderful. Enjoy your week. Laura x

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    1. Laura, I do feel rather 'satisfied' that my interests have come together in this way. Thank you for such a lovely comment.

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  12. Your work is outstanding, John. I, as well, thought Winston Churchill was a photo..excellent!! and the Fuchsia is so beautifully painted. It was my Mom's favorite flower because it always reminded her of a ballerina dancing...What a surprise when I clicked on "a year in my garden"!! it was such a treat to see all these lovely flowers.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed "a year in my garden" Hilda. I keep telling myself I must paint some of those pictures but I never seem to get round to it. (Note to self: must try harder. lol). Thank you very much.

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  13. Hi John.
    I bet you are pleased with this painting. I am amzed that you have captured such a brilliant likeness of Churchill. Well done John and all the best.
    Vic.

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    1. Thank you very much Vic.
      All the best

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