Last fall, I went to the N.C. State Arboretum and took a bunch of reference photos of the flowers there. Great spot to take photos, BTW. I was hoping to get some florals with a lot of sun and shadow partly b/c I love the challenge of painting shadows and the other partly (lol?) b/c I love the challenge of painting sunshine....that doesn't really make sense, but you know what I mean.
The challenge was painting all of the darks while preserving the "white" of the flowers. It's a process...trust me. :)
I knew that my background was going to be very dark. I usually like to start a dark background with a violet wash and darken it with Payne's Grey. The rose all the way on the left was going to be almost totally in shadow, so I started those leaves darker than the rest.
Painting a petal to make it look like it's curling is a little tricky. Right where the curl starts, I touch on the color and then with clean water, I soften down one edge making the space under the curl darker and creating depth to the flower.
I spent a lot of time concentrating on the middle rose. The flower on the left is going to be totally in shadow and the flower on the right (not painted yet) is going to be VERY sunny. The flower with the most light on it actually gets the least amount of time and paint b/c the white of the paper does the job nicely for me! :)
I also started planning what the leaves were going to look like. I didn't want to paint a lot of greenery since I felt that that would detract from the flowers....just a few.
Once I start adding the dark background, the flowers literally pop forward on the page. It's one of my favorite steps in the process b/c the whites become brilliant and you start to really see the sun/shadow effect.
This is going to take a few washes to get the depth of color that I need in the background.
The rose on the right had a lot of sun on it, so I'm keeping the details very light on that rose, allowing a lot of the white of the paper to show through. You can tell at this stage that I'm still not sure how I'm going to make the greenery work in this painting. I kind of struggled with shapes and lighting on the leaves before settling on what I thought would work best.
Here are some close-ups to give you an idea of the details.
The light branches here and there were lifted with a brush and water.
Happy Painting, my friends!