Transfer or sketch your image onto your paper and I would recommend that you sit for a few minutes and study your subject or photo. Study the lightest colors, the darkest colors, the shapes and shadows and really have a plan of colors in your mind. Decide what you want to do with the background, the colors and shapes that you'd like to have there. Mentally discard anything in your photo that detracts from your focal point or detracts from your painting.
After you've done all that, and I mean, sit and study that photo for at least 15-20 minutes, you're ready for your first wash.
So, I have masked the all of the areas that have really bright sunlight on them. Swirl your brush in some wet soap shavings before you use the masking fluid on your brush. It'll preserve it since masking fluid can ruin brushes.
Wet the whole page thoroughly and lay on your first loose wash. Work quickly or you're going to have backwash issues... (ew!) lol
On your next wash, I'm going to start getting specific with the petals on the flowers. I'm using a mixture of burnt sienna and lemon yellow. On this wash, paint around the "sunspots" on the petals to make them glow.
Put the colors on the inside edge of a petal, just paint it on a little bit, then, quickly wash your brush and run it over the edge of the color with clean water. It'll soften that edge out nicely.
Here's a close up. Like my bee?
Backgrounds, for me, are hard, but necessary....You have to work FAST, and be accurate, making color decisions and changing between several colors throughout the whole wash. When I'm laying on a background, I literally cannot think about anything else or be distracted with anything else. It takes ALL of my concentration.
I lay it on, gritting my teeth and then I sit there and stare worriedly at it for a good bit, watching for back washes and blooms....It's probably amusing to watch me...
So, when laying on the background, I work in sections and I switch between two brushes. A number 3 round and a number 12 round. I lightly wet a section, like on the right of the painting from the bottom up to the first sunflower, laying on the colors loosely, then, I quickly switch to the number 3 round and paint around the edges of the petals. You have to do this quickly b/c you want to then wet another section without that edge drying on you. A drying edge will give you a bad bloom. Don't panic if that happens, though. Let the whole page dry and then start over with laying down a wet wash. It should smooth out an unwanted bloom.
Resist the temptation to work at a bloom while the page is wet. You'll only make it worse. Grit your teeth, lay down your brush and walk away from it. lol
So, you've come to the stage of LOTS of softening edges. Softening edges means that you have a tissue in one hand and a small paintbrush in the other. Usually, a number 3 round. After the paper is fully dry, you can start softening the edges around the petals, softening circles in the background for a Boca effect, softening any sunshine spots, etc. This can take quite a while, but it's worth it for your final product.
A quick wash on the railing, painting around the sunlit spot.
Pay some attention to the reflections in the glass vase after you've removed the masking fluid.
At the very very end, after all of the softening and after everything has sat for at least 24 hours, I lay a seriously light, watered down wash of a yellow onto the background to warm it up. I love this wash b/c I brings so much sunlight to the painting.
If you want a print of this painting or even if you want to have it printed on a gallery wrapped canvas, you can go to American Frame and order one from there:
Anyhow, I hope you enjoyed this step by step lesson. This painting took me about two weeks to paint, so don't rush yourself. Two weeks is actually a LONG time in my painting world. I like to rush through things, but it's good for me to slow down.
Happy Painting, my friends!