Since childhood flowers have been a source of joy for me; I would bring a fresh bouquet of poppies to my mother on my way from school. The poppies would put a smile on my mothers face, and they would set a happy and lighthearted tone for the day. When I became a full-time artist I thought of flowers as symbols for different feelings and emotions. Years ago I saw this tulip and I know I had to paint it, but it was not until years later that I felt inspired to do it. Coincidentally this happened shortly after the death of my mother, and after I had read The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. It was no accident that the meaning of the red tulip was "Declaration of Love." With this painting I was somehow declaring the profound and unspoken love that I felt for my mother.
Many photos of my subject are taken before making a decision. I try not to plan my paintings meticulously, buy rather let the photography in process plus my intuition tell me how to best portray my subject. This tulip was majestic: the vivid reds implying passion and buoyancy, consequently leading to a close-up shot to create stronger impact. The strong stem leading to the golden mean area, plus the vibrancy of the complementary color theme of red and green was chosen to create this effect and to further draw the viewer into the painting. Since I wanted this painting to have a organic look, I chose to wrap the petals around the board.
I like to work on linen canvas or wood. I work from photos so these have to be of very good quality. I print several sizes in color and black and white with a large printer. the more visual reference I have, the better. I also have my own garden, which allows for a more intimate knowledge of my flowers. after the canvas/board is primed and dried, I give it a transparent wash using only the color I will use in the painting (Usually some version of all primary colors). Once the wash is dry, I use soft vine charcoal to draw loosely. When I like my composition, I start painting in a direct painting style; section by section until it is complete.