Saturday, September 26, 2009

September 26, 2009 - Day 47

Da Vinci watercolor on 140 lb Aquarelle cold press watercolor paper

I wasn't happy with my flowers over the last couple of days so I picked up "The Watercolor Painter's Solution Book" by Angela Gair. The book contains "44 Common Painting Problems and How to Solve Them".

In the book there was the solution to my problem - flat and lifeless floral paintings which are caused by trying to paint too much detail. The solution is to paint wet-in-wet and let the color flow where it will. So that's what I did. The other suggestion was to make sure that some areas are left white to "rest the eye" and create the illusion of sunlight.

Just doing those two little things greatly improved my flowers. I can't wait for tomorrow's floral to try this technique again.

The other thing that I learned today was that the background really does make the painting. Originally I had a pale brown background which looked OK but not fabulous. The flowers weren't really "popping" with that color. Then on a whim I decided to add a wash of Aquamarine Blue over top. Suddenly, the tulips were bright and vibrant. They weren't lost in the background anymore. I should have scanned it with the brown and then again with the blue to show the difference but I really didn't think the background color would change much. Wow, was I wrong in that regard.

Friday, September 25, 2009

September 25, 2009 - Day 46

Da Vinci watercolor on 140 lb Aquarelle cold press watercolor paper

Did an underpainting on these poppies with mixed results. I am struggling to create vibrant colorful florals. The white flowers have been somewhat easier to create than flowers with color. I find that as I add the color I am losing the definition and the values.

I guess that means I will be doing more florals over the next couple of days. Hopefully I get the hang of them soon because I really love bright and colorful flowers and would love to create beautiful florals with visual impact.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

September 24 - Day 45

Da Vinci watercolor on 140lb Aquarelle cold press watercolor paper

Tried to paint some geraniums tonight. They didn't look too bad until I added the background. That's when things turned ugly on me. If I would have been painting with acrylics I could have just re-painted the background but with watercolor there is no "do over". I tried using salt sprinkled into the wet paint as a last resort but even that didn't work.

If it wasn't getting so late and if I wasn't so tired I would have started the whole thing over from the beginning. Truth be told though I just don't have the energy tonight to do any more painting.

I definitely want to do more florals. I am going to try another one tomorrow. This time I will use the underpainting to get the form right before adding the background. I love the background that I achieved with the cat tail but I haven't really been able to duplicate it again.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

September 23, 2009 - Day 44

Da Vinci watercolor on 140lb Aquarelle cold press paper

Used an underpainting again to create this flower. The background was painted then speckled with clear water to create the mottled appearance.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

September 22, 2009 - Day 43

Grisaille underpainting

Da Vinci watercolor on 140lb Aquarelle cold press paper

I was having a lot of difficulty painting the flower petals so I decided to do a grisaille underpainting to develop the form and value before completing the painting with color glazes. It is amazing to me that the lightest values which seemed so dark in the grisaille become so white after adding the dark background.

Monday, September 21, 2009

September 21, 2009 - Day 42

Da Vinci watercolor on 140lb Aquarelle cold press watercolor paper

Today was one of those wonderful days when the paint flowed like magic from my fingertips to create the illusion of life. Days like this make up for all the recent frustration I have been feeling and fill me with awe at the wonder of creating. It is a totally mystical and spiritual experience that I can't really describe. It is like I am a conduit for a higher power that used my muscles to create something amazing out of pigment, paper and water.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

September 20, 2009 - Day 41

Da Vinci watercolor on 140lb Aquarelle cold press watercolor paper

Back to realism. It is still my goal to improve my nature/botanical paintings so today I attempted another daisy. All I can really say is that with each painting I am learning new techniques. In this painting I did the background wet-on-wet to create the mottled appearance. I really like the look of the background and will definitely use this technique again.