Tulips in a Glass Vase

Flower paintings are some of my favorite things, just because I like flowers.  Painting them is another story.  Tulips are such cheerful, seasonal flowers, appearing in the market for a short time; I always have to buy a bunch or two or three.

Determined to paint a vase and water with stems, to really look at them, I put the tulips in a rather coarse, rectangular glass vase.  The edges of the vase are wavy, and it is far from perfect, which gives it a rather pleasant charm.  It seems I rather avoided the stems – my picture got too big!  I’ll give it another try later.

Parts of this painting work, but overall it feels rather labored in appearance.  I’m not quite sure why – maybe too many glazes took away a sense of spontaneity as well as clumsy negative painting.

Red Poppies

I always have loved vistas of wildflowers, and the red poppies seen in so many French paintings always seem wonderful to me.  Red like that is hard to find (I think) in the natural world.  Painting it is even harder.  I ended up using mostly Cadmium Red Orange.

This is another direct watercolor from this morning, but because of the multiple layers of washes, I had to let it dry in between.  I went about getting ready for work between layers.  At first, I just did a sky and put in colors of grasses and poppies – but they all bled together, so the second attempt – the one above – is the final version.  If you look at the pictures below – click on them to see them in sequence – you can see what I did.  I scanned each wash layer before doing the next.

Village Windows

Here is yesterday’s first layer of watercolor pencil, now “watercolored”.  I tried to follow the lines of the pencil.

Here is the second layer of watercolor pencil, with a little bit more detail.  The sky was done with about 4 or 5 colors, layered down with a blue, some white, some grey.  The roofs are an orange and a brown and a black.

As you can see, I also colored in the windows and am trying to add texture to the tiled roofs.  Some green, too, for the foliage in front.  After this, I then added water.  Once more, I followed the lines, such in the roofs.  The space on the lower right is a bit of a problem.  I think it needs something, but have no idea at this point.  Maybe a cafe awning so we can a shot of espresso?

As I have never used watercolor pencils for any complete picture, my cunningly brilliant plan is to simply layer color, then use water.  As you can see, there is some bleeding.  Most interesting to me is the sky – in the center the little bleeds are rather interesting.  In the windows, I also did some lifting of color with a dry brush to lighten the glass, as a reflection or to enhance a shadow.  The iron gall ink is beginning to blur into the colors.

I have no idea how many layers I will end up with, but I am going to try to do glazes / layers to represent shadow and form.  No idea how successful this will be!

Moonlight

Night is always mysterious and exciting.  The moon overhead – clouds – wind- the creaking of branches – the rustles in the undergrowth.  This is what I decided to try, using an old sycamore tree as the subject, and a bit of my imagination.

First step was to decide on colors, and approach.  I decided warm undertones for the tree and the sky.  I used a bit of Quinacridone gold and Yellow Ochre for a thin wash.  From there, successive glazes in Ultramarine Blue, Indrathene Blue, and Carbazole Violet.  As things progressed, some Burnt Sienna.  You can see the different layers below.

At times I used a hair dryer to dry the layers . . . other times I painted as I held the hair dryer.  I used rounds, flats, and finally a rigger brush (for the very first time!)  It was okay to use the rigger in the background, but crossing it along the bottom of the tree – I don’t know – I think it detracts from the rest of the tree – hard to say at the moment.