Thursday, 13 June 2013

Step by Step "Bee on Cornflower" Image by Gary Jones

If you don't want to read any further I would fully understand as you stop and admire this superb photo taken by Gary Jones. Am not sure what has possessed me to even attempt it let alone do a step by step!! But I have chosen it for our June image in the Loose group on Paint my Photo and not wanting to let the side down thought I had better get down to it!! There have already been some wonderful paintings posted and  hope my version does it justice.

The colours I have used are Cobalt Blue
                                               Winsor Violet
                                               May Green
                                               Permanent Rose
                                               Translucent Orange
                                               Cad Yellow
Paper is 25"x20 200lb Hahnemuhle (used on the rough side as this paper has two surfaces)

This was the initial wash where I added the cob blue, Winsor Violet, May green, wet in wet leaving the area of the Bee which I very vaguely sketched to get the position. I did add some orange as you can see to the right but not sure about that area now.
 Next I added some darks and orange to define the bee as I thought that would help me position the petals and give me some reference for the rest of the painting. As you can see also a touch of green negative painting around the petals at the top.

I always seem to have a phase when I think it is not going as I would want and this is the start of that here. I decided to lay down some of the dark values but working around the piece in this way does leave you a bit in the dark as to how it is developing. I often paint like this so different areas can be drying as I work on other areas, this is quite a large piece it obviously takes time to build up the different areas. I have added some green at the bottom to give me some of the stem and tell me where the flower head needs to finish and give me the area I need to be working within.
 I felt I needed more work on the bee at this stage. That is my focal point and by concentrating on that I hoped it would make it clear how much or little I needed to do on the rest of the flower.
Next I start to add some depth to the centre using UB and permanent rose. I am not following the photo rigidly here but just trying to give an impression of the stamens, letting some of the edges wash softly away and keeping others.
Now I move to defining one or to more petals painting negatively around some of the edges with the colours I have used in the background and again the petals only vaguely resemble the positions in the image. Had I drawn the image before I would have had a more accurate representation but that isn't what I wanted, I wanted to capture the colours and the soft feel of the photo and some of the light.
 More work on the bee and at this stage I feel I am beginning to rescue it... still not sure about the orange but will wait until I have finished to decide about that.

In this final stage (for now) I have added the final petals to the right and defined a few darker areas around some of the other petals. I placed the image slightly left of centre but I think it may look better in a square format and may well crop it if I decide to frame and that would get rid of some of the orange. In the meantime I will keep it hanging around and see if I think it needs anything else. As always am open to any ideas you may have too!!


  1. Grappig om te zien we maken allebei korenbloemen maar zo verschillend in techniek mooi om je opbouw te zien lieve groetjes Danielle

  2. A lovely photo to work from Judith, enjoyed your step by step. One thing I would perhaps do IMHO would be to darken the bg behind the wings, they do not show well on my monitor

    1. Thanks for that Lorraine will check that out, just the sort of comment I need!! I have been working on this for a few days and you stop "seeing" it after a while, even though I have had it standing up in my room, I think your own work becomes too familiar and you become blind to it.


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