Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Hydrangea Study Step by Step

I made a very weak effort at a loose hydrangea on the workshop I did with Jean Haines earler this year and realised I had a lot of work to do so I hope she will be pleased with this as I think it shows some progress!!!

I started with a wash of Windsor Violet, Pthalo turquoise and a touch of Alizarin Crimson (wouldn't use the red again might try a different colour eg Opera Rose). I let the paints run and added more water to let everything flow across the paper, moving the paper around to allow mixing in the direction I wanted which was a sort of diagonal top right to bottom left..... then left to dry.

I could already see a few opportunities for creating a couple of petals so added one or two centres and a touch of negative painting to define one of the edges then allowed to dry again. At this stage I am adding water all the time to soften edges and trying to keep the whole thing quite diffused, washing the edges away in the diagonal flow I started with.
Going on to define more edges with stronger paint... you can see the shape starting to form now as I add little touches of paint here and there.

I added a touch of Alizarin crimson around the centre of the flower to tie it in with the spots I had put above but am not liking that colour within the piece. Again more of the same, gently defining and washing away to build up the centre slowly. It is very important to let the paint dry between applications, there is a big difference in effect between applying the paint wet in wet and applying water to paint added wet on dry.... the second way in this piece produces a lovely mix of hard and soft edges whereas paint applied wet in wet will give you a soft muted effect which isn't what I want on here.
Just subtle changes here, continuing to build up the petals, painting negatively around them but also inviting the colour into the petals in parts as well. I have also added some Ub to the palette as I felt it was needed, now don't ask me why, I just thought it needed warming up a bit.


Have created one or two more petals... at this stage it is a question of stepping back and looking at the composition to see what it needs to possibly balance it out and make it look pleasing to the eye.Have also gone in quite dark now and I must admit it looks a bit fierce, but hopefully this will be tempered when I start to add the other darks around the petals

Some very dark spots now added to the petals to define one or two of them a bit more, need to consider at this stage does the composition work and do I need to add more to the bg... feel I might need to add a touch bottom right. Am liking the way the light has been caught around the top left of the flower head and want to keep that area just as it is
Decided the bg looked a little too dark so washed out some of that area and added a bit all over the bottom right of the bg and left side of the flower head and prefer the more subtle look to this now. Am going to leave this for a few days and see if I think it needs anything else.

The actual study hasn't taken log to paint, it is the drying which takes the time and for once I did leave this between washes to thoroughly dry so that I didn't get any nasty muddy areas... it always helps to have more than one painting on the go so that you can be working on one while another dries....

A lot of this way of working is what I have learned from Jean Haines, I have seen her demonstrate twice, been to a workshop and have both her DVD's and books, a big thank you Jean!!!  You will find a review of her book here Review.  The book is fantastic and I have learned so much from it... whenever I want to do some practice exercises I reach for it and am lost for hours!!











16 comments:

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    1. Thanks Dawn.... I never now how clear they are.... I know what I'm talking about, but does everyone else!!!

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  2. Wonderful! And your descriptions of the process are so clear. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Thank you Maria.... have just added something about that very point to Dawn.... am so pleased you think the descriptions are clear as that is just what I'm aiming for!!

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  3. This is SO beautiful! I enjoyed the step by step, too.

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  4. Thank you so much Jane... I often intend to do step by steps and then either forget to take the photos or I don't like the finished result so managed the whole lot with this one!!

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  5. Thank you Judith! I've never worked that way, very exciting!

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    1. Am surprised to hear you haven't worked like this Sherry from seeing your work... have you got Jean's book? You're in for a treat if you plan on getting it!!

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  6. A very professional result love it, thanks for the clear process shared too!

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    1. Thanks Lorraine,it's so good to hear that you found it clear.....when you know and understand what you're talking about it's very easy to assume everyone else does and instructions can then be unclear or confusing.

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  7. Hello Judy:) I'm so impressed! What a nice peace of art you are making. Love it! Thanks for sharing your step by step photo's. Great:)

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    1. Thanks Renate... I wonder if anyone will actually give it a go!!!

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  8. Hi Judith - new to your page but adore it already. Please can you tell me what brand of w/c paper you prefer,I am using 140lb Bockingford as I am still learning and a lot goes in the bin but would like to know what the professionals use. Also, do you use W & N watercolour paints, I have heard they are now made in China, this seems to be putting people off, not sure why! I love your work and blogs, and have had a go at Brusho too. I also love Jean Haines and have just bought my first book written by her. Can't wait to have a go! Sue

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  9. Thanks you so much Sue for the lovely comment, am delighted you like what you have seen so far!! I also use Bockingford 140lb although I do have a selection of other papers too with some much heavier quality (Saunders 300lb, Bockingford 250lb, Arches 140lb, Hahnemuhle 200lb and I also have some hand made 600lb rough which isn't suitable for watercolour but will be using it for Brusho). Am not what you would call a professional yet Sue but am working on it!!! I do know Jean Haines uses Arches and Saunders 300lb for her gallery work but will use Bockingford for the practice stuff. I use extra rough as I like the texture and find smooth doesn't let the pigments mix on the paper as I like them to. I do use W&N paints and I also really like Schmincke... all artists quality. Am not sure I am discerning enough to know whether they are different if they are now manufactured in China... I am more particular about the colour that anything else so I suspect I would notice a difference in that rather than consistency or handling. The problem with watercolour is you go through a lot of paper before you get a really good idea to how to use it so to use the really expensive stuff would be a waste. Am getting to the stage where I am more confident in using it and will maybe use the Bockingford to get an idea of how I am going to approach something... trouble is then, that the different papers handle differently as well so at some stage you have to learn that as well. I think Bockingford is fine... it is a proper watercolour paper so fit for purpose not like some of those cheaper ones and is well priced compared to some of the others. Hope that helps...

    BTW you will love Jean's book, is it the first one you've got? Read my review on the second one, it's here

    http://judithfarnworthart.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/atmospheric-watercolours-by-jean-haines.html

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  10. Very interesting. I love it when artist share their techniques. I try to do this also. It helps us all improve our skills. Lovely work Judith.

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  11. I love the painting and appreciate your sharing the process. I love Jean Haines, I have her books and DVD's. I am going to follow your instructions and hope for similar results. I found you on Pinterest:-)

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