Every year, some time between mid-January and mid-March, I get the urge to paint flowers. This feeling last weeks, even a month or longer. Winter in Ontario can drag on, with grey days that just don't want to end. I know, I shouldn't complain - I live in a pretty moderate climate, and don't get nasty, snow-filled winters. But maybe this lack of snow just adds to the greyness. There's no white ground to reflect the sun.
In any case, come late winter, I want to inject some freshness, life and colour into our grey days, and into my painting. So I pick up some flowers, set up a still life in the studio, and paint.
Unfortunately, floral painting sometimes gets a bad rap - I know painters who refuse to paint flowers because they don't want to be associated with making "pretty pictures". And I have to admit, I am not immune to this bias. But I try to fight it, because I hate the idea that some subjects are off-limits, simply due to pressure to be a certain type of artist. The fact is, I find flowers visually appealing. Gorgeous, even. And if I can't paint something that appeals to me because I'm worried about being pigeonholed, well, that's dumb. So I go for it.
This year, because of an art class I'm teaching, I've been rediscovering my watercolour kit. With it's fluidity and freshness, watercolour is a wonderful medium for painting flowers. So I'll explore floral still life -- grey winter and preconceived notions be damned. I'm going to paint me some spring.