Category Archives: flowers

Goldenrod / watercolor and Inktense pencils

When I started this project I wanted to paint something fast and easy. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. It turned out to be difficult and time consuming but I really wanted to finish it before I start on the next thing. Isn’t that the way it goes with art projects! The more you do the more you see needs to be done before you can call it finished. It was tempting to just quit but I wanted to see if I could fix it so that I liked it, make it bold, not wishy washy like it was at first.

It looks browner in the photos than it does in real life. If I take the pix outside in natural light the yellow looks too green in the photo but if I take the photo inside the background looks too brown and it’s really greener. I don’t know how a pro photographer would light it to get the closest colors to what I actually painted.

I think the contrast between the Inktense pencils in the background and the brush strokes of the leaves and flowers is a good contrast in textures.

And I got some sharp edges on the leaves and fuzzy edges on the flowers. so that might give the art viewer’s eye something to compare and keep their attention longer than a painting without those contrasts.

Can this painting be saved? goldenrod

watercolor and Inktense pencils

I was undecided if I should post this. On the one hand, the painting might work but on the other hand, I don’t know exactly how to proceed and it might be a huge waste of time. But if any bloggers with more water media experience want to give me a tip, it might help

I did my sketch in plein air then started blobbing in some yellow flowers without drawing them on the paper in plein air. I thought I didn’t need to draw the flowers a second time. I painted on dry watercolor paper. I drew in the stems and leaves that day with pencil but came home and put a thin layer of green down on dry paper for the leaves.

I took a few watercolor classes long ago but never mastered it. I remember a few things, like, start out light and go darker.

I wanted to paint dune grass around the goldenrod but that took some time since I went over the whole background one section at a time between the leaves. I first made the paper wet in a few areas at a time, then drew lines with the Inktense pencils to make grass. Then I rewet the grass areas to blend the Inktense lines down a little. That’s 3 times over each little area. I broke that job up over a day and took frequent breaks to do other things.

Last time I was there, a bunch of guys were fishing and people were walking past me. I was sitting on the sand next to the path. I’d like to continue working on this in plein air but it might be busy there today because the weather is so nice. I picked some goldenrod to help me visualize the next step so I can finish this at home.

On the painting above, I left some blank lighter areas in the flowers. Those spaces are going to be the shaded parts of the flowers if it works. I need to go darker there. I tried to pick some colors with my color charts when I was there, but I don’t know… And I think the leaves need to go darker. Then, last but not least, I want to go over the yellow flowers in the sun again and try to define them a little. You can see from the photo, my flowers in the painting don’t look like the ones in the glass.

Easy Does It / Inktense pencils

Easy Does It is the name of this rose.

This is the nicest weather we’ve had in months! I went to Norfolk Botanical Garden today and took my Inktense pencils, didn’t have to walk far from the car into the rose garden. It smelled so sweet! It’s partly cloudy, cool and a nice breeze. It felt good standing in the sun to draw this.

I didn’t draw it with charcoal or pencil first, just went straight in with the Inktense, which you can’t erase. That’s ok, if you go off drawing a flower no one can tell.

The roses are so bright the Inktense pencils don’t do them justice. If I decide to paint these roses I might have to buy fluorescent paint. Maybe they make acrylic that’s brighter than oils.

begonia cubed / oils

It was a little scary to paint the flowers with my brushes taped to yard sticks. I couldn’t decide, should I put a coat of Maroger medium on it first in case the brushes bobbing around on the end of yard sticks made a really bad blip? Because with the medium on the dry painting first I could easily wipe off a mistake. Then I thought Matisse probably didn’t use Maroger medium and if I want to try to paint like him I should skip it.

After I got going it wasn’t as bad as I thought but my brushes did go all off in places.

I never saw a painting by Matisse that I didn’t like. If I could copy his style that would be a real accomplishment to me. But I can’t just copy one of his paintings because mine would look like a bad imitation. I have to wing it a little because this isn’t something they taught at the academy. And also, every artist is different, so you’re supposed to do your own thing. I did try to find his style. I’ll keep working on it. Too bad he’s dead. I can’t shoot him an email and ask.

This close up shows a brush stroke gone wild in the red on the flower and in the blue that went over the stem.

Oops, the blue cut right through that stem. Should I fix that? I’d like to fix it but something tells me not to.

I don’t know. I guess this is the best I can do for modern art at this point in time. I made it as bright as I could. I’m pretty sure Matisse mixed his colors instead of using them straight out of the tube.

Begonias Cubed / it’s a start

How to make a $10 plant look like a $50 plant? Cube it.

I meant to tint my canvas paper gray but it came out black. That will be ok. It might make my begonia look like a drama queen.

I think I’ll do the background blue because the petals are orange so that will be the complimentary color for some contrast. It might make the petals show up brighter. I’ll wait a day or so and put the orange on top of the white and gray. The white and gray in the petals is the underpainting. I need to underpaint the orange with white because the orange won’t show up on the black background because it’s a more transparent color.

For this painting I’m stealing from 2 great artists, Matisse and Picasso. At YAA they told us, “Only steal the good stuff.”

From Matisse I’m stealing the idea of taping my brushes to yard sticks and standing way back from the painting. It’s fun but slightly out of control, which doesn’t make it easier. And from Picasso I’m stealing cubism. I wanted to fill up the paper with a lot of flowers and I have this little plant, so I drew it from all different sides and at first I had it up on boxes for added height, then I lowered it to table level. So that gives me different angles too.

I’m going so modern I didn’t sketch it with charcoal first and didn’t plan the arrangement. I just started painting flowers and filled in the whole paper. Painting them a little larger than life makes it easier.

So, I still have to do the background at least once, maybe twice, put the orange on the flowers and decide if I want to go over the leaves again. I’ll see how they look on the blue.

Doesn’t matter how long this takes, it’s too hot and humid for me outside in plein air. And we have rain coming in.

I bought some nice little inspiration for $10.

begonia with buds

I’d like to draw in plein air but the weather has been so hot and humid if I don’t get moving at the crack of dawn it’s too late. Then yesterday we had a big storm (Elsa) and I heard there was a tornado in Sandbridge. I need to turn on the news and see for sure but I think the Sandbridge Rd. was flooded today. Tomorrow looks like the best day to get out early and sketch.

I think I can keep this plant alive on my balcony. It doesn’t get full sunlight since it’s facing North. I’ll try to paint the begonia next. We could have another 8 weeks of heat and humidity with some nice days once in a while. This weather is not good for your plein air artist. Got to go to plan B. for begonia.

azaleas / oils

Sometimes I neglect everything else in life and paint for days. Other times I do things that need to be done and neglect painting. This is one joy in my amateur status. It’s not a job.

When a subject takes up most of the space on a painting the negative spaces become an important design element. The art viewer’s eye needs to find a place to rest so it doesn’t get tired and will look longer.

Making an interesting background keeps the art viewer’s attention on the painting with more contrast and texture but it’s not as bright so it recedes.

The veins in the paint let my imagination think the painting is part of nature. It’s an illusion I like to make.

I didn’t see a plaque in the garden with the name of this variety of azaleas. Maybe I overlooked it. If it was up to me to name it I’d call it Candy Cane.

rhododendron sketch and azalea painting update

I’m waiting for my paint to dry on the azalea painting before I can finish it with the last color, pink. If I put the pink on before the other paint is dry, it might lift some white or gray and that would make the pink less bright. A couple weeks ago I bought a tube of fast drying white at Jerry’s Artarama because I knew Titanium white dries slowly. When I opened the tube it was dry in the tube! And I didn’t save the receipt. bummer.

While I wait for the paint to dry on the azaleas I decided to sketch the rhododendrons which are starting to bloom. This is Inktense pencils.

There’s a real pretty path through the rhododendrons. It’s covered with moss and has a bench and spotty sunlight. I’d like to do a painting of the path but that might be a project for next year because it could be complicated and I need to figure out a good plan for it and do sketches first.

After I did the underpainting and waited for that to dry I went over this a couple more times, background, leaves, stems, and flowers. The gray is the shadows on the azaleas. At first I had a warm gray for shadows but after looking at it for a couple days I decided to make the shadows slightly darker and cool, so I put a cool gray glaze over the warm gray. It looks like neutral gray in this photo. I’m not sure if you can see the layers of paint but you can see some veins in the paint which I like making. It gives the painting more variety of brush strokes and direction in the petals.

This azalea is past blooming but I have my sketches to go by and I’m pretty sure I can finish it at home. I think it will work out with the pink looking as bright as possible. I did some color roughs. I might do another one. I’ll continue with glazing pinks next. Then it will be finished.

I wasn’t going to show it at this stage because it’s almost done, but I thought if I just post a close up of this one section it won’t spoil the surprise.

azaleas / underpainting

Done with the hard part, now I have to do the scary part.

First I had to paint the flowers with white because the pinks won’t show up bright enough on the dark tinted paper since they’re semi transparent colors. Also, I couldn’t see the flowers well enough until I painted them to tell if they look like a good arrangement.

The background texture is from my modified fan brush. I wanted to make a look of pine needles on the ground

The scary part is the pinks. I mixed my colors in plein air sitting next to the azaleas and I think I have the closest pink to what it actually is, but it’s not as bright on my palette as it is in reality. Flower petals allow a little light to go through. They’re not 100% opaque because of the cell structure, if you know what I mean. The sun on the pink petals makes a brighter pink than you can buy in a tube of paint.

I need to do a color rough and see if the pink will be brighter if I use glazes of the two pinks that I have straight out of the tube.

First I need to go over this again and decide where to have shadows and where to have spotty sunlight. Then wait for that to dry before painting the pinks. I’m excited I got this far with the painting and might be able to finish it next week. It can dry this weekend. I’m going to PA.

sweet wildflowers on my path

Last week I didn’t see these flowers on my walk. Today they’re all over the path making it smell so good! I need to mark the date so next year I can be ready when they bloom. I’d like to use them in a still life with some other local objects, maybe seashells or something. I have a fish shaped dish that could be in a still life and a little vase for the flowers.

I can’t do it this year because I’m into a difficult painting right now, the azaleas. I don’t know if I can make the azaleas painting work out as planned but it will take some time to tell. I need to make more progress on it.

It’s not unusual for me to save an inspiration for a year or more before I get into the project. You know me, slow living. haha. Like my daughter says, “live fast die young, live slow die later.”