I began a new demonstration for my morning class today. This is from a photo of some Iris I had -forgot to post the original photo, but will do so tomorrow with the completed painting. This is the sketch I made (I know it is hard to see, but it is important!) My intention with this painting is to leave the background as white paper, which puts a lot of pressure on those white negative spaces, so designing them carefully was of utmost importance. I took great care to have all the negative as well as positive shapes interesting and varied, and planned the spacing very carefully. Notice how the large leaf curls back in to point to the focal flower? That was no mistake or happy accident! I have put an X on the negative areas so I wouldn't get confused while painting.
You will have to bear with these photos -the lighting in the classroom wasn't the best. I began the painting with the large leaf, just to get my flow and establish the bright colours I wanted to exist in the painting. I rubbed out the pencil line before making the leaf by double loading my 1" flat brush (azo yellow on one edge and a mixed green of phalo blue and yellow on the other) and twisting my brush to make the leaf. I was lucky and got a neat end for the leaf. Then I widened the leaf and painted around the end of the lower iris petal, and then I puddled some mixed violet into the shadow side. This is to move the colour of the (yet to be) purple iris into the foliage, ensuring colour unity. Next I prewet the iris fall and tipped in a variety of violets to the edge and let the colour soften towards the white middle. I puddled some yellow-orange into the inside edges while it was wet. I also scraped some veins into the wet wash. Note that I did each of the falls separately so I had the most amount of time to play with the wet washes. If you click on the photos, you will see them larger.
Next I painted the iris petals, again using different mixes of bright (ultra. blue & quin. rose) and dull (phalo blue and scarlet lake) violets in differing values to give variety to the colour. One of the biggest mistakes I see learners make is to paint an entire flower with only l tube of paint -even with varying the values, the colour just isn't dynamic enough to hold the viewers interest. I will later come into this wash to add some cast shadows, but this is as far as I can go with wet paint. My rule of thumb is to do as much with colour and value in the first wet wash as this ensures a luminous result.
I lifted out some lights out of the damp wash on the top flower, which you can see here. That is also easier to do while the wash is just drying. Then I tackled the lower flower, which I have made to nestle around the base of an adjacent bud. I painted it the same way as the first flower, except I didn't scrape veins -I wanted the more detail in my focal flower. I did vary the way I used the colour though, so they would be different. When the first washes were dry, I popped in the cast shadow from that bud, using a rich mix of differing violets. I painted the base of the bud by puddling in mixtures of azo yellow, phalo blue, gamboge and scarlet lake. The top of the bud is in shadow, so I left that part for later, as I want the cast shadow edge to be crisp.
You will have to wait until tomorrow for the rest of this lesson I am afraid -blogger has a limit on the number of photos per post, so I have divided the pics up into two days.