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.
Yesterday was one of those days filled with things to do, with more things to do added last minute. Toward the end of the day, I really was not in the mood to do much more than veg out, be a blob, and sink into a stupor. Nonetheless, I girded up my proverbial loins, and sat down with an imaginary bouquet in my head and a reference picture for light and shadow to use with the imaginary bouquet.
I didn’t set out to do too much – but in the end, it worked out pretty good. I kept in mind light to dark. I also kept in mind working over the whole painting, shifting back and forth from one area to another, and applying a hairdryer when things needed to dry out a bit more than my patience was willing to wait for. All of a sudden, I swear, my mind said, “Hey, let’s paint around these flowers!” There were not any flowers in that area, but I did negative painting without too much thought. Wow! That was a big shift for me – I’m still quite the newby in this area.
So, here we are. Colors include sap and Hooker’s greens; Payne’s grey; ultramarine and cobalt blues; hansa yellow; quinacridone rose. There may be a few others. I used one brush, too. The paper is Fabriano’s 100% cotton Artistico, and that alone helped a great deal – evident as the other side of the paper was already used for a wash-heavy exercise!
The other day at the store I picked up small, individual bouquets of chamomile and red carnations (probably really dianthus, a member of the same flower group). The leaves of each are vastly different, with the chamomile more “leafy” and the carnation’s longer and pointy. I took my time with this painting this morning – took a photograph of the flowers – and studied things a bit before diving in. I didn’t do a value study, but tried to determine value from the photo.
I began with an overall wash for most of the areas with color – greens, reds, and yellow dots. From there, negative painting and deepening colors in an attempt to show depth. Not quite there – a bit too tight for my tastes – but I do feel it was a moderately successful study. Waiting between the washes was a bit trying on my patience!
Having photography as a hobby sometimes yields pictures that can be used to create more pictures. I decided to give up the no-lines approach for now (though it is a great exercise to learn how to make shapes – I was just really frustrated by what I was doing), do some pencil roughing, and then work one color area at a time. First the tulips in shades of red, orange, and yellow, mixing some oranges as I went. Next, the greens of leaves and stems, consciously determining the areas to negative paint later on, as for the flower petals. Finally, the bowl. Before the whole was done, I went back to each area and tried to create a sense of depth by deepening other areas and being careful not to touch the areas I had left deliberately white.