Saturday, February 18, 2012


Here's a few of the student paintings from yesterday's pear paintings - pretty good, yes?

Carol began the second day with a demo of a magnolia flower blooming amongst a background of leaves.  She said we would be using a more realistic palette today for our paintings.

She first explained that, since the flower was going to be pure white, she didn't want the sunspots in the background to be pure white.  So, to tone the spots down she used Shadow Violet by Daniel Smith (a pigment that granulates and separates into turquoise and pink - very pretty). 

After the areas were touched with the Shadow Violet and dried, she masked them off with Incredible White Mask (the masking fluid she uses).  Then that had to dry while she created some graphic lines around areas using Aureolin Yellow (that halo look that is her signature although less intense than on the pears painting).  Then she pre-wet a large section of the background and began dropping in colors, using Quinacridone Burnt Orange as a base and putting in Winsor Newton Green, Yellow Shade and Shadow Green by Holbein, making a lovely mix of colors and blending and leaving areas pure color here and there.  Lovely to watch happen if you love watercolors!

Then she did the area that was background but that was under the flowers and leaves.

Here she is, using a red glass piece to look through to check her values.  This was a neat tool because you could put it up to your face and look through it to see the values without seeing the colors. 

She then let that area dry and put in some leaves, working from the farthest back to the foremost leaves, using Aureolin Yellow and Quin Burnt Orange with some having Shadow Green at the edges (or Lavender by Holbein) and some not.  Variety in the leaves were apparent as she worked along.

Carol said her intention for this painting was to shift colors from dark to light and to hug the boundaries to keep the eye in the painting.  She also said you need to play with a shape and have gentle transitions in the colors, not let it be "wormy" looking = squiggly harder edges lines apparent and no blend.

Carol said, "If you can't give me a leaf, at least give me a beautiful watercolor shape."  I love that idea!!  Stop worrying and think shapes and make them as beautiful as you can.

The flowers were done last but the background flower petals first because there was one petal she wanted to have as the focal point - she always leads the eye to the focal point and works on it last, working up to it.  Flowers were done by wetting the shape then floating in Quin Burnt Orange and using Lavender (a strong pigment so she painted this with a small brush) to shape the curves and shadows on the petals.  Very pale colors began to look like full, rounded shapes of petals. 

She continued that way with each petal, working towards the focal point petal.  There is a lot of delayed gratification in this technique; you wait until the end to do the main star of the painting and integrate everything as you move towards that end.  This way, you don't have a great painting of a flower and no idea what to do with the background!

"Each painting should be teaching you something." 

I'll share my painting of my magnolia tomorrow and the other flower paintings from the students (not everyone did magnolias but had their own flowers to paint so a varied group of paintings this time).


Irina said...

Sooo interesting! Looking forward to more info and photos. Thank you Rhonda!

RH Carpenter said...

Come back and see more later, Irina :)

Kevin Neal said...

While I am sure there is no substitute for the real thing, the information you provided about the workshop was very interesting and informative. I read just last week that workshops are statistically the best way to improve your skills.

Studio at the Farm said...

Loved reading this, and seeing your photos, Rhonda. Thank you so much!!

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks, Kevin. I know what you mean - you really have to be here in person to get it all but Carol doesn't mind my sharing.

You're welcome, Studio :)