Month: September 2022


I think this is the first original flower study I am happy with. The reason is that it has the looseness of style I have been trying to get, a brightness of color, and decent contrast.

I began by wetting my paper on both sides after drawing in the basic flower shapes, some stems, and leaves. All of the pencil lines are simply guides, but it did help. From there, I did the flowers with a wet wash, more water than pigment, to suggest the basic flower petals. From there, leaves in a light yellow green with the plan to paint darker colors over petals and leaves. Once I had those general shapes in, I placed the flower center in, allowing it to bleed into the leaves and petals as it would. Then I dried it with the hair dryer.

More washes came along using more pigment and less water, but still wet. I tried to suggest leaves and shapes, painting around the flower to create indents where the petals fell over the leaves in an attempt to create some depth. Again the hair dryer, probably multiple times. Finally details with a fairly dry brush, thicker pigment slightly dampened with water. This was done for some of the stems, the flower centers, and a bit here and there.

I am using my new palette, but I don’t think I really like the alizarin crimson that much. It is the “permanent” variety and seems rather dull to my eye. I tried to liven it up with other colors, like some blue and red and orange in different areas, but it is not as vibrant a red violet I would like. I will need to do a bit of research here.

So, at last, a sense of being able to paint flowers in a manner pleasing to my sense of what a floral watercolor should look like.

9×12 CP Arches, 140 lb.

A Few Flower Studies

When you find an artist whose work you like, and who is also a good teacher, an online class can teach you a lot! The nice thing with videos is that you can watch them over and over, catching little things with each viewing.

Shari Blaukopf is a painter that I admire. Her watercolors are clean and fresh. She also has a really nice online personality, whether it is on her blog or in her recorded classes. I’ve made comments on her blog and she replies; I have uploaded a painting or two, and she is always gracious. One day it would be nice to take a class with her in person.

Anyway, I have / am taking two of her courses on flowers. One is painting wet-in-wet flowers, and the other is painting fresh cut flowers.

The above one is from the wet-in-wet flowers class. The paper is wet on both sides after the initial pencil sketch is done. The paper is then blotted. And from there, you go to town! It was really fun to see how the paper and paints all worked together. Not a great rendition, but the experience is the most important part as that is how you learn. My contrast issues are not too bad.

The hydrangeas are from Blaukopf’s course on fresh flowers. She does three different flowers – a blue salvia, then echinacea and black-eyed Susans, and finally the hydrangeas. I’ve done the salvia, but have yet to do the second one. I wanted to do the hydrangeas especially because of the delicacy of colors involved, as well as work on the contrast and negative painting, the latter which is just as much as a challenge for me as good contrast! Having been very frustrated with my colors always being too intense, this was also a good challenge for me with pigment and water control.

The past few days have been spent practicing free-motion quilting for a class this morning, so it was really a treat to wade back into painting. I love flowers, so painting them is the challenge, especially as I prefer a looser rather than more precise rendering of them. I think precision can be a lot easier than abstraction.

New Palette, New Colors

Quiller Palette – 28 Colors!

My all time favorite palette is the Quiller palette, available in porcelain or plastic. Plastic does stain, especially with phthalo colors it seems, so after a few years – 3 or 4? – it was time to buy a new one, and to fill it with colors. I like the plastic – or acrylic – palettes over porcelain because, if they are dropped, they don’t break into a bazillion pieces. It’s always a job to fill up a palette unless you are replenishing old favorites and standbys, but I decided to change a lot of my colors as I’ve bought colors over the past several months and want to put them to use. So, here we go – my new palette and the watercolors therein.

The outer corners of the Quiller palette are put to good use – 8 large wells. Beginning in the upper left corner and moving clockwise, I labeled them, for my purposes, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H. Color name and manufacturer are listed. Abbreviations: S = Schmincke Horadam, DS = Daniel Smith, H = Holbein, WN = Winsor Newton, MG = M. Graham, S = Sennelier.

  • A. Cadmium Yellow Lemon – SH
  • B. Lemon Yellow – DS
  • C. Permanent Yellow Deep – DS
  • D. Pyrrol Orange – DS
  • E. Italian Burnt Sienna – DS
  • F. Burnt Sienna – DS
  • G. Cobalt Teal – mixture of MG and DS to use up MG
  • H. French Ultramarine – DS

Next, if you look up into the upper left corner, you will see a spot marked on the palette with a rather long, pointy thingy. It is a yellow next to a rather periwinkle color on its left. That yellow is #1 in the following list, and clockwise around, ending in #24.

  • 1. Hansa Yellow – MG
  • 2. Hansa Yellow Deep – DS
  • 3. Gamboge – MG
  • 4. Naples Yellow – MG
  • 5. Quinacridone Gold – MG
  • 6. Translucent Orange – SH
  • 7. Cadmium Red Light – H
  • 8. Cadmium Red – WN
  • 9. Permanent Alizarin Crimson – DS
  • 10. Pyrrol Red – DS
  • 11. Quinacridone Coral – DS
  • 12. Raw Sienna – DS
  • 13. Raw Umber – DS
  • 14. Burnt Umber – DS
  • 15. Cerulean Blue – MG
  • 16. Cobalt Blue – DS
  • 17. Prussian Blue – S
  • 18. Manganese Blue Hue – DS
  • 19. Phthalo Green, Yellow Shade – DS
  • 20. May Green – SH
  • 21. Hooker’s Green – WN – the only one for me!
  • 22. Cobalt Violet – MG
  • 23. Carbazole Violet – DS
  • 24. Lavender – H

Sometime over the next few days I am going to paint out a sample of the palette and colors, copy it, and paste it to the lid of the palette. This way I have a copy on hand, and if the one on the palette gets messed up, I can print out another. I also like to read up and do a bit of research about the colors, and often refer to the Dick Blick site to get pigment information and Jane Blundell’s site to read up on her comments.

It’s nice to know a bit about colors, and with so many new formulations on the market this becomes a good thing to do. What I think a color is may be very different than what a color is – such as granulating or not, fugitive or not (I try not to buy those, but I do have some normal alizarin crimson and rose madder genuine), warm or cool. Besides this, it is good to know in which direction a color “leans” – that is, does the red I am looking at lean to the blue or yellow side of the palette. Such things affect color mixing. As there are lot of new-to-me colors, it is good to become acquainted with my new friends.

And there we are.