20 x 16 in | 50.8 x 40.6 cm
I have seen many types of Lupines on my hikes, some of them over three feet tall. In contrast, this little Lupine was no more than a foot tall, yet it caught my eye. The white center zone of the petals was more brilliant than other Lupines and the leaves bore silvery fringes. The whole plant sparkled.
The problem for me as an artist was how to bring this sparkle to the viewer. I painted the flower from a low perspective, about 6 inches off the ground. (Fortunately, that position was not unpleasant because ground was covered with soft pine needles.) From that view the white spots on the petals stood out like flags against the dark green conifers. To capture their brightness I used mostly Titanium Oxide to make the white spots. Titanium Oxide produces a brilliant white. The problem is that it is more translucent than some of the other whites. Translucence is no problem if you are painting with a knife. I just laid on more paint.
To test the effect I hung the finished painting on the wall and turned down the lights with a dimmer switch. The white spots kept shining until it was pitch dark. I think it worked. Also, I wanted to convey the context, the stunning mountains that were the backdrop for this Lupine. I painted the mountain from the perspective of standing up and painted the Lupine from the perspective on the ground. After all, I want the finished painting to recall the real experience, not what is possible through a camera lens.
Brilliant white patches, hairy leaf boarders and small size point to a Brewer’s Lupine (Lupinus breweri), common to the Western Mountains from California to British Columbia. This little Lupine lives in Yosemite National Park in California.