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!
© Copyright Cady Driver 2016 - All Rights Reserved
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