In the Garden: Daffodils

With clear blue skies and temperatures in the 70s, spring has arrived!  I packed up a watercolor book, pens, a couple of cameras, and myself – off to the local botanical garden to finally get a look after weeks of rains and closure.  I was not disappointed.  Flowers in bloom, hordes of butterflies as I haven’t seen in years (lots of flowers = lots of butterflies), people.  The air was fragrant from the new growth everywhere, but in particular was a clump of daffodils beneath an old olive tree.

I sat down on a rock, and did this sketch, saving the colors until I got home.  I also took a lot of pictures – digital and film – for reference.  People stopped by and made conversation, a dog or two came to sniff.  Nature, while beautiful, is also capable of irritation – the baby flies were a bit annoying and I wonder if I should put on some DEET to keep them away.

For months I have been thinking about drawing in the garden.  It changes daily, and with the seasons.  This is the first drawing of this project, which will be ongoing.  I’ll be adding it to the page My Other Lives page above.  (For now – WordPress seems to be having issues adding pages!)

Happy Spring everyone!

Daffodils

Today was just too nice of a day to stay home, so I headed out to the local botanical garden, cameras in hand, pen, and paper.  Bulbs are up and beginning to blossom; the ones in the shade are getting there – more for later visits!  Birds, butterflies, bees, cool breezes.

Since I have been playing around with the exercises in Alphonso Dunn’s fine book today, I decided to continue the adventure and draw some daffodils with pen and ink, but follow through using watercolor pencil.

I laid down the major lines in pencil, and followed through with a fine pointed Namiki pen with waterproof ink.

Next, direct application of Faber-Castell’s Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils.

And finally, using a water brush, I wet the colors, taking time to use a light touch.  A few lines of extra ink, and it was done.  Below is a gallery if you wish to cruise through the sequence from pen, pencil, and water.

Daffodil Season, 3

More daffodils!  This time I did a value sketch before I began to paint.  I think it did help me with the final painting.  The sketch is not to scale for the picture, but it does give the areas of light and dark.   You can see the light is sort of to the left, and perhaps a bit to the front.

Next, the basic outline of the daffodils on the paper.

Finally, the painting itself.  It’s better in some ways than the earlier ones I did, but it just isn’t what I want to accomplish.  Parts of it look forced – specifically, the flowers.  Still there is a better sense of painterly-ness here!  And, the value sketch helped a lot.

Currently I am using Canson XL paper, which is a student grade paper.  For really wet washes, it doesn’t work that well, yet I find it quite to my liking as a practice paper for the most part.