Friday, May 15, 2009

New watercolor demonstration -Daffodil Jungle

This is a demonstration of a fun way to handle florals to ensure they remain loose and full of colour, plus it leaves a lot of room for creative exploration -which to me is why I paint. I began this painting with daffodils in mind, and I brought a small bouquet to class as an inspiration. I began by RANDOMLY wetting the paper in places, leaving some dry spots. Then I brushed and splattered azo yellow, gamboge hue, and some of the yellows with a touch of scarlet lake or phalo blue added. I paid no particular attention to where the paint went, other than trying to look for balance of colour. You can see where the random washes hit a wet area as then there are soft edges, and when the paint hit splatters of water, it created interesting shapes. Then I set it aside to dry.
The next step was to 'find' the daffodil shapes in the random washes. This takes some practice, but most of us can see animal shapes in cloud formations, and it is just developing that skill. I held one daffodil in my hand and where there could be a daffodil shape, I just turned the flower I was holding around til it seemed to fit and then drew it carefully onto the paper. It is critical to take your time at this stage as the painting will only be as good as the drawing is. I tried to make the petal shapes interesting and varied, whether or not they were actually like that in reality. Try to show the flowers from all angles as well as from the back for a sense of reality. After the drawing was finished, I began to bring out some of the flowers using negative painting as well as positively showing the bell of the flower from the petals. The goal here is to keep as much of the original paint untouched as possible to keep the freshness of the first washes.
At this stage I began to add in some background colour using ultramarine blue and quinacridone violet. I keep all the paint fairly light at this stage so I have leeway to do more negative painting if I choose later. At all stages of the painting I put it up at a distance to assess how things are going. If you only work at a close distance, you may lose the forest for the trees! My goal is 'how much do I have to do to enable my viewers to see a jungle of daffodils blowing in the breeze', and not a touch more!
Here I have begun to put in some positive darks to pop out the lighter flowers. Playing with calligraphy and my 1" brush allowed the leaves to twist and turn, without drawing the shapes on first and then filling in the lines with paint. This keeps some spontaneity.
More work on bringing out the flower shapes (notice the shapes along the bottom for example).
I will continue the demonstration in the next post...

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