I'm one of those artists who is addicted to step-by-step photos....which is why I post so many step-by-step photos for your ultimate viewing pleasure! :)
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. :)
After sketching out the flowers and figuring out the balance of the painting, I started with my lightest initial colors. Even though the tea roses were a lovely light shade of whitish-pink, they had a lot of warm colors on the petals b/c of the sunshine.
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.
It's usually at about this point in a painting that I start kicking myself for starting such a complex piece...lol....all of those little petals had to be painted separately and I had to paint them in stages. While one petal dried, I painted the petal 2 spaces over and so on. OY!
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! :)
At this stage, I'm being very careful to paint and soften around the "sunspots" on the petals. The bottom flower is part shade, part sun and I spent a great deal of time studying all of the intricate shapes and shadows that the sun made on the flower.
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.
I'm starting to add in the background with cool greens (Viridian), Payne's Grey and some Violet, alternating between the three colors as I paint from one corner to the other.
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.
I'm pretty close to being done here. After the painting dried, I took a wet brush and I softened around some of the leaves, dabbing it with a tissue to create the softness from the sun. I also lifted some spots on the leaves and within the dark blue to create small spots of sunshine.
Here are some close-ups to give you an idea of the details.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that at the very end, I lightly washed a cool yellow over some of the leaves to warm them up. Just touch the yellow on and lightly wash over the purples and pinks of the petals, but don't over work it with your brush or else the underpainting will come off!
The light branches here and there were lifted with a brush and water.
Happy Painting, my friends!
Okay, ladies....it's time to pick up a seriously good book.
Spin Sisters by Myrna Blyth is a must read.
As an editor of many popular magazines including The Ladies' Home Journal and Family Circle, Ms. Blyth gives women the scoop on how magazines sell us many , many lies....Lies about how we, as women, are victims, we are frumpy, fat and frazzled, we cannot deal with our jobs, our children, our marriages, etc. She delves into why magazine covers constantly sell "STRESS! STESS! STRESS!!! Are You Stressed? 10 Ways to Relive Stress. How to Live With Stress! How Stress Makes You Fat! How Stress Hurts Your Love Life!" Ms. Blyth debunks all of these headline exaggerations and digs deeper to reveal that, basically, we've been had.
She raises a LOT of good questions....things that have given me pause for thought in my own life. Never before in all of American history have women held the positions of power that they now hold...never before have we been as healthy and well educated. We have myriads of machines that do our work, keeping our hands callous free. Infant mortality has never been better and we typically don't die in childbirth! Women can work, stay at home, study, travel, sing, act, paint, ...do anything that our heart desires and yet, we are still whining about how stressed we are! We can choose to have children or NOT have children, how MANY children to have and how to raise each child.
It's definitely a wake-up call. Maybe we're letting the media influence how we think about ourselves too much. Pick up any magazine and you'll find out how to be a bombshell in bed, keep your man, ditch your man, make your eyelashes longer, be thinner, have smoother skin, longer hair, smaller pores, larger bust....read further and you'll feel like you can't win if you stay at home (frazzled moms?) or go to work (can't handle it all? ) Come on.....you know you see these headlines OVER and OVER again and the influence that it has on us is undeniable. We are an easily persuaded lot.
Anyhow, pick it up from the library or get it it on your Kindle or Nook. Never again will I look at magazines in the same light.
Thank you, Myrna!
I'm a wife and mother of four kids. I homeschool, paint, run, and garden! I am always interested in digging truths out of Scripture. Here, you'll find my thoughts on art, adoption, gardening, mothering, homeschooling, books and whatever else is on my mind. Enjoy!
Creativity doesn't exist in a vacuum - like skepticism, it's a means, not an end. It cries out for a theme. To treat creativity as an end in itself is to assume godlike character for humans as though they could create ex nihilo. -J. Cheane