Thursday, May 8, 2014
This a watercolor that I did a few years ago of roses from my garden. Originally I wanted to paint a whole still life, crystal vase, lemons, table. The more I looked at the flowers and turned them for the best view the more I could see the patterns of the petals and wanted to do them large. I pretty much used the flowers in front of me to draw from, but after looking at the drawing I decided to add one more but to the lower right side for balance. Thus this composition. The dark negative space came out nicely and completed the composition.
As you may have discovered, yellows can be difficult to work with. Normally if you wanted to create shadows on yellow you would add the complimentary color, which would be purple. In the case of this rose I chose to use cad red with just a touch of purple. Yellow can become muddy so easily and I wanted to keep the brightness of the yellow. I used 3 different yellows, a light, med, and dark. Almost any yellows would work, cads, hansa, gamboge, the only one to stay away from would be lemon yellow, it has white in it and looks heavy and opaque. When you are working with the light yellow use more water, as you want to get darker color less water more pigment. In the shadows I use cad red light. The key to getting a dimensional look to the flower is to remember the lightest light next to the darkest dark. The outside edge of a petal should be light and cast a shadow on the petal underneath. Flowers with layered petals will almost always work that way and if you keep that in minds you will get a nice dimensional effect.
The leaves and stems are done in sap green, lighten with more water, darken with ultramarine blue. I always like to add a little color from the flower into the leaves, so in this case I added a little yellow on some of the leaves and a little cad red on the tips of a few. You may notice on these leaves I did dark veining. On the last two paintings, the magnolia and the tree peony when I painted the leaves I left them white and then ran a light color in the space after the leaves were dry. This is something you can decide as you are painting to compliment the composition. If I have a lot of veining in the flower I will usually do white veining in the flower. A flower like the rose which has no veining I will do a dark veining on the leaves.
The background is several coats of ultramarine blue or if you don't have that you could use cobalt blue. When you want a solid dark background don't try to do it all in one coat, the result can be very uneven. I do a light coat and let it dry totally, when you do subsequent coats only brush an area one time. The more times you stroke an area the better the chance that the paint underneath will pick up and you will have a hard time getting an even coat of paint. This is also the time to clean up the edges of your flowers. There are times when you will want to put the background in before you paint your flowers, white or light colored flowers can work for that method. Most of the time I will paint the flower first and then put in my background or many times that the flower doesn't need a background color. It pays when you are painting your flowers to keep your paper as clean as possible in case you decide to not put in a colored background. This is a decision you, as the artist, have a choice on.
I will still be posting how to finish the magnolia, hopefully before the next class. and photos of finished pieces from the class. Beautiful work!!