Thursday, February 12, 2015

Waterlily - 2-10-15

The Waterlily

This week the painting we did was of a white waterlily in bright sunlight. One of the peculiarities of painting with watercolor is that for the most part not using white paint to show highlights or to lighten colors. The white of the paper is left unpainted to show highlights and as far as lightening colors it is just a matter of adding enough water to lighten the color. If you have used oils, acylics or pastels, you know that for highlights you add white paint for highlights as one of the final touches to complete a piece of art. In watercolor, whites must be planned in advance of laying down any colors, especially if you are using dark colors. Once color is down it is almost impossible to get your paper back to its original sharp white. That being said, this painting needed the pure white of the paper to show the light coming through the petals.

So in the areas where I wanted to keep white I applied masking fluid. I used PEBO masking, which is a water based liquid, nice and very easy to apply. One of the other things I normally do before beginning a painting is putting artists tape all around the area that will be the painting. This gives me nice sharp edges when it is removed. I use a white artists tape, available at most art supply stores, but you can also use painters tape, the same tape you would use when painting rooms in your home.
The background was the first thing that I painted. I mixed a combination of Antwerp blue and Payne's gray, about a 50/50 mix. I wet the paper being careful to not let the water go into any areas of the petals. I wanted a pretty solid background so after the first coat of paint was completely dry I added a second coat of the same mixture. While the  background is drying I started working on the shading on the flower petals. The photo's above show the shadows after I rubbed off the masking fluid. I used the same mixture of colors that I used on the background only adding lots of water to make the color much lighter.
Next I painted the stamens with New Gamboge (yellow), as the paint started to dry I added another coat of paint to the left side of each stamen to give the illusion of roundness. The base of the petals also gets a a light wash of yellow, the reflection of the stamens through the petals. Also now is the time to look at the shadows on the petals, perhaps adding a little more dark in some areas or lightening some others. There is a pattern of shadows underneath the petals and the water, I used the same colors as the background to lay them in.

Sometime, even though I had planned the painting out a certain way, as I work on the
painting I may decide to make a change to the plan. In this case I felt the petals were too stark and they need just a touch of color. So I did a light wash of very watered down quinactridone rose over some of the shadowed areas on the petals. I liked the little bit of warmth it gave to the shadows.

The reflection of the flower in the water was next. Using the same colors as the top, with the addition of a lot of water, I quickly brushed in the reflection of the shadows on the petals, added a bit of the yellow and rose. When almost dry I used my 1" flat, wet but not dripping wet, and dragged it across the reflected petals. Brushing in one direction only, if you brush back and forth it ends up just muddying the paint. When the petals
are dry I painted in the rest of the water with just the Antwerp blue, added some Payne's gray next to the petals and while slightly wet, using the 1" flat brushed the blue across the reflection of the petals. Last I put in the yellow reflection of the stamens.

There are 4 drops of water on the lily, very easy to paint. Using Payne's gray, put a shadow line around the drop where is overlaps the white petal, inside the drop leave a white area all around the inside of the line, then there is a shadow the goes from dark to light starting on the left side and then graduating to pure white
on the right side.  The three drops on the far left petal are a little darker. When I was sure all the paint was totally dry I removed the tape, used my kneaded eraser to take off any pencil lines that were still visible. Done!

Here are two more finished barn painting. Very successful!!

1 comment:

  1. Elaine, this waterlily is very pretty and love that you show the progression of the painting process.