I’ve had in mind a series of paintings studying the shape and color of dahlias. Until now, I’ve been intimidated by their intricacy. For the past few summers, I’ve been visiting the Dahlia gardens near The Asian Art Museum on Capital Hill and marveling at them, studying them, trying to paint them in my mind. I’ve made tracings and sketches of them. I have taken dozens of photographs.

Last night, I just dove in to try again (I’ve attempted before I did the drawing studies, etc.)… and this time, I think that I made a break-through. This is going to be what I saw in my mind for them to be. So, to get my feet wet, I did underpaintings of two 8″x10″s and an undersketch of another 8″x10″. I’ve found that it’s better to construct your paintings in groups. This works well (to me) because you can go from canvas to canvas while you are waiting for one to dry. This helps to add a sense of cohesion to the group because your palette stays very much the same. This will be a sub-group. As the group becomes larger– in quantity (I’m not sure about size or scale yet), this will hopefully be more obvious.

I’m building these paintings because of my love for Dahlias and the fact that they have been very challenging to draw and color. The shapes are intricate and it hard to find the “hook” in the drawing– what I mean by “hook” is the place where you start a drawing or painting– where you define your scale, the place that will begin the relationship of the objects in your painting– Anyway, with dahlias, I feel that I am pushed to another level. If I have time, later, I may publish my studies.

About Rachel Heu

"Creativity is an act of defiance. You're challenging the status quo. You're questioning accepted truths and principles. You're asking three universal questions that mock conventional wisdom: Why do I have to obey the rules? Why can't I be different? Why can't I do it my way?" --Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It For Life (pg. 133)
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2 Responses to Dahlias

  1. Amy says:

    Wow. You have just taken off. Good for you. I look forward to seeing the paintings. 🙂

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