Monday, July 28, 2008

Signs of Spring, step 10

Another finish!


I kept looking at the "finished painting" and knew there was something about it that I didn't like. It took me weeks to figure out that it was the vase. Instead of a vase, I had selected a small-necked bottle into which I had stuffed lots of daffodils. The end result was a pinched, constricted feeling. It made me uncomfortable...I kept wanting to fluff the flowers.

Scouring my still life "stuff" again for a blue vase, I found this pitcher that had been hiding in a dark corner where I had overlooked it when I originally set up the still life.

I photographed the painting, printed out several copies and went to work. With gouache (opaque watercolor), I painted the blue pitcher on a print, which I had adhered to a board. Then I cut some daffodils out of the other prints and arranged them. When I got them where I was satisfied, I made the changes on the painting.

To make it easier to compare, below is the painting before I changed it.


Notice that three daffodils remain in the same place. I moved and repainted three others and added one hanging over the blue pitcher. Now I am back to seven odd number always being better than an even number. I also put cast shadows on the back apricots and put more shadows on the daffodils.

I took out some of the nandina because I thought there were too many spikes, and I added two daffodil leaves.

More and more as I paint I understand how much our choices influence the success or failure of a painting. It's all about composition.

I have also changed the title to "Daffodils and Apricots."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Yellow Roses, step 5

Painting more leaves and background


Now that I have decided on the color combination for the leaves, I filled in around the top right rose. Then I refined and repainted the leaves that were already there. I don't want to get too picky...just enough detail to say they are rose leaves.

I'm still not finished...this is quite tedious. I want all the leaves to make sense, and I realize at this point that all of them are facing toward me. So I will photograph more leaves from the underneath side so that some of them will be facing away from the viewer. It will make for a more interesting painting.

I have considered bringing the roses into the studio, as they are still in pots. But I hesitate because I don't know what kind of bugs I might be bringing in along
with them. It sure would be easier, though, if the bushes were in front of me.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Yellow Roses, step 4

Painting more leaves and background


Once I got some background and leaves in, I decided that I didn't really like the rose on the left with it's stupid looking petal. After searching my photos some more, I found this rose, which is really stunning.

I added a small bud setting off the larger roses. I painted more leaves...trying numerous color combinations for my greens. I have finally settled on using Gamblin's chromatic black and cadmium yellow light, producing a low-key green. Using the chromatic black is a lot safer than using ivory black, which can crack if used in large quantities. When I paint the dark leaves, there's a lot of black in the mixture.

My background is primarily ultramarine blue and burnt sienna with some splashes of cadmium red light giving it an illusion of transparency.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Yellow Roses, step 3

Painting more roses


After studying the arrangement of roses, I realized that I had inadvertantly arranged them in a circle with a hole in the center. So I rearranged them, added another one, and the flow is much more pleasing.

I added a bud and a small rose to the bottom, trying to make sure that the distances were unequal.

It was time to paint some leaves and background. It was getting very complicated and confusing, since I am working from photos.