Lewis Bryden: Florals

My wife Betsy had just come in from a bike ride; “I saw a beautiful stand of Queen Anne’s lace and cornflowers down the farm road a little distance from here.” she said. I went to have a look, and it was beautiful. It was an overcast afternoon, the sort that has a flat light, not very good for landscape painting. However, I thought it would be worth a try making an oil sketch of it.

In fact it turned out well enough to make a final painting, and this started me thinking in a new way about painting outdoors: Why not have a very close focus of interest in a plein air painting? Also, what could be better than being outdoors and getting the colors of flowers in their always changing natural light?

So, about three years ago I started this series of plein air flower paintings. There are some precedents, such as Monet’s “Poppy Field” and some Impressionists’ garden studies. However, most flower painting I’ve seen is of cut flowers, in a vase in an artists’ studio, under north light. This struck me as a chance to try a new approach.

Of course, I can’t paint flowers outside during the winter months— but that’s when we miss them the most.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 -Lewis Bryden