Well, this painting just was not flowing...and I knew it as soon as I got to the bottom tulips.
I liked the chair and the cherries but working on a bunch of tulips based on a drawing and a photo just was giving me fits. Plus I was overworking them to death on the 140# coldpress paper. And yet, I just kept going and going and going!!
Not even going to show that part.
Unfortunately, I kept painting - tulips in the bottom right, then a "table" and jar with a striped tablecloth that also was not working. But I just kept going.
Whew! I hope I got that mess out of my system because now it's time to start fresh. So, with a white sheet of 300# paper (not sure if it's Arches or Fabriano), I began drawing in the elements I wanted and trying to be slow and careful (not how I usually work at all, hence the overworked aspects).
So...wish me luck. I have begun again. And, hopefully, I won't be so heavy-handed.
Planning something new. More planning = a better painting. So I need to make myself slow down, take time, look, take a break, go back and look again. It's odd but true that we see things later that we did not see at all at first!
This is in my 11 x 14 inches sketchbook using watercolor crayons. This sketchbook is not made for water media but it works okay as long as you don't soak the paper a lot.
I think, for this one, I may buy some tulips. I want real flowers to paint.
(Well, I looked and could not find tulips locally - is it worth buying them and having them shipped or just use a couple of reference photos?)
I meant to photograph the next step after Step 1 but I seemed to be on a roll.
So...I think it's done.
Mermaid Vase and Pears
On a large sheet (cut from a roll) of Arches 140# coldpress paper, I wet it down and pinned it to my Gatorboard on my table to dry and get rid of the intense curve (from being rolled up for so long).
Then, using my magazine cutouts and my colored sketch, I began by putting down Winsor Newton texture medium in the upper right corner.
Not waiting for that to dry, I drew the pattern in with a thick water soluble graphite pencil and then smeared it.
Then I started on the bowl and pears. Spent a lot of time on that part before moving up to the pattern again and, using a rough bristle brush to push the texture medium around, I added some pinkish-brown color there and then painted the yellow stripe beside it down to the bowl.
At this point, I knew I wanted that blue-green vase in the painting so added it.
No drawing done except the thick water soluble grapite pencil to help me shape the roundness of the bowl before painting in color.
Time to take a break!
On the bulletin board:
the colored sketch, some magazine pages for pears and colors...getting ready for a new painting.
Finished after just a few tweaks.
13 x 16.5 inches
on 140# coldpress Arches watercolor paper
Still some things to do to make me like it more.
I began painting in the upper left side, slowly getting those geraniumns done, bringing the leaves and stems down to the plate of fruit. Then the coffee grinder and blue jar and that orange around it (could not get the loose look of the sketch - the sketch paper just made that orange blotchy and interesting in ways the 140# paper did not although I kept adding water and a bit more paint as it was drying).
So far, so good!
First: Pull out some things from your home; things that mean something to you; things that "go together" for a future painting. Think about shapes, shapes, shapes (and value).
Second: Set up some things and pull out some photos for additional elements = flowers or jugs or dishes. Make some changes.
By sliding the coffee grinder over to the side of the table, it came up against the orange painted blocks of my library shelves. So...making me rethink my idea of painting this in pale greens and hot pink = how about that orange in there to put next to the blues and tans?
Third: Sketch a loose drawing with color - think about what color you are going to make the painting, overall. At this point, the blues are too pretty and will be cobalt and I will paint the geraniums in the left side with more oranges than pinks and maybe bring that orange down and around the grinder and blue jar.
So many changes as you go along and try to decide what's best. I need something to bring the eye into the painting in the lower left, too - will pull some little thing out to put there later.
Magazine pieces cut out for the elements and colors.
This is a better drawing of the grinder, cup and jar. I wasn't happy with the quirky way I'd put the grinder in there - it should be solid with lots of texture on the wood and the handle.
In the painting, there will be no blue scarf but I'll put in a pot of geraniums there instead - the leaves will pour down over and around the blue clock and the plate of apples (did you see the plate of apples?). This is so much fun to just try things and play with elements and colors. And cutting out magazine elements works - keep a book full of things and just pull out and use whatever works best with your initial setup :)
And this looks more like I want the painting to look (sketch done over in Caran d'Ache watersoluble crayons with water added and some watercolor if the color needed a bit more).
No silver coffee pot, no little white creamer. Letting the green and pink fruit move the eye around a bit.
That little white jug may show up again in the lower left but mostly unpainted (?) maybe.
I loved the orange and messy look here in the sketch of the grinder and jar and cup - will definitely try to do this in the painting!
This is where your creativity and your energy flow through you and you cannot WAIT to get started...
BUT that is the time to go sit down a while before starting so you don't rush (this is me talking to myself because I am not patient and tend to rush, overpaint and lose some freshness).
So - orange, pink and pale green around the elements of flowers, fruit and coffee stuff.
Ok, here we go!
Going to start with the upper left geraniums and the cobalt blue clock.
The top right of this one was just wrong - also the table didn't look like a table at all. So "destroyed" that part with a rough bristle brush, some white gouache, a bit more color on the tall parts of the flowers. Then just cropped off some of the top.
For this one, I just cropped a bit off the edges and bottom, bringing the view in closer.
Now, on to something new!
A couple of cards - Strathmore Watercolor Card sets.
I love painting some of these every now and then just to have some on hand for birthdays, etc.
These both were "inspired" by the last Shirley Trevena book I worked through - with some additional colors and shapes as I painted.
On my palette.
Not sure what colors running together made this watery/swampy object, but I like it :)
This one has gone through some changes. Mostly, the struggle is with the background that I want to be something but not too much something (as if that made any sense at all).
I darkened some shapes and brought in some more darks here and there to get the eyes to move around the painting.
Not sure about this one yet. I think that velvet chair needs to be pushed back in some way. Shirley would just "destroy" it by taking a rough wet brush to it and smooshing it. Or maybe the "table" needs to read more as a table and not as a stained glass window...
What do you think? Be honest, now!
Started the painting, after the initial planning stages, with the flowers, then the vase.
(I know that looks like a big hat in the upper right but it will be a velvet chair behind a table when I'm done.)
So far, trying to stay focussed on
A lot of think about all at one time - whew!
Shadow Violet very very wet (over granulating medium brushed over the paper behind the flowers and "on" the table surface) so it separates into the three colors but is, mainly, violet.
The other side a window shape cut out of a magazine - lots of water and secondary color dropped into the primary color. The "black" line down the paper cut around the coffee pot and cup and right through the far left green apple.
Hope you're enjoying this new venture for me! I seem to be a bit obsessed right now :)
Before putting paint onto paper, I am going to work out the shapes and colors on sketch paper with crayons and graphite. This will help me plan a bit more than just start on paper and go from there (that intrepid style of painting probably takes years!).
I have been cutting out elements from magazines and pulling together some things that mean something to me, personally. I'll use a little of this, a little of that, and come up with something good (I hope).
Painting this way takes a lot of thinking about:
I liked the colored sketch above, but decided to go for more personal things around the house.
I started with a light graphite pencil sketch, then put some magazine cut-out elements on the sketch to make changes.
At this stage, I pulled out some real elements (to look at as I paint) = the aluminum coffee pot and a small cup (both belonged to my Momah, who made a cup of coffee that was so strong, it would walk out of the kitchen right to you :)
Another magazine element = the velvety peach/orange chair.
Planning this way lets you see what works and what doesn't work before getting to the real painting.
And then you can just go for it!
My goal for the whole painting is to make things less flat = more dimensional, using whatever works to make the shapes and colors pop.
I worked up a colorful sketch on plain paper, using water soluble crayons. I will look at it a while before beginning to paint.
I already know I don't like the black lines going right through the pears and will move the lines. I also think the tulips need to come down farther into the lower left part of the painting.
This seems easy but, truly, there are SO MANY choices to make it's like going to the grocery and seeing 20 types of chicken noodle soup and being stuck for a choice! ha ha
And I might just put this one aside and begin something else. Afterall, I want these setups to be more personal to me.
I just found out I am running out of 140# paper except in blocks so need to think about an art supply order :)
😊 Happy September! 😊