Painting a Garden 2

Two Suns in the Cosmos (watercolor, 15 x 11)

Even though it was the week after Veterans Day, the California weather had been so glorious that the flowering annuals were still vibrant. On Monday I did a horizontal painting on a quarter-sheet of Fabriano rough paper, painting en plein air. On Tuesday I returned to the site and painted on a vertical quarter sheet. I was pleased with these paintings, but I also remembered what this garden had been like the year before when there were sunflowers hovering over the cosmos and zinnias. Because the surface of Fabriano rough paper doesn’t lend itself to details, I felt free to recreate the image with the imagined sunflowers in my studio.

For the painting shown here, I mixed my greens by using the sedimentary blues of manganese, cerulean and cobalt. The colors for the flowers included permanent rose, cadmium scarlet and cobalt violet. As I had painted en plein air, I painted in the studio: on dry paper from puddle to puddle—hopping around and avoiding wet edges. I gave my painting the title, Two Suns in the Cosmos (watercolor on paper, 15 x 11). In addition to being the name of a free-flowering annual, “cosmos” means “harmonious universe” in Greek.

“I first learned that art was important in the fourth grade,” says Brommer. “My two sisters and I had the measles; we all had to be quarantined. We were out of school for a month. I did all the homework, including the art lessons. But I couldn’t do what the rest of the class did because the teacher was giving the lessons. So I just went out in the backyard and drew. I can remember drawing a couple of irises in pencil, shading them and everything. When I handed the work in, my very, very wise teacher held the work up in front of the whole class and said, ‘This is really a good drawing.’ I thought, ‘Wow! I’m going to keep drawing.’ It turned out to be a major turning point in my life.” Today, Brommer is a highly sought-after instructor and juror.

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