Thursday, 27 July 2017

Strawberries and Cream!!

I know the title might make you think of Wimbledon and in fact I have been this year and had my strawberries and cream but that isn't what this title is all about!

We have a lovely hydrangea bush which has cone shaped flowers and teeny petals and when they first appear they are cream... slowly over a week or two they change colour to a lovely pink, starting at the tips until the whole flower has changer colour... really weird!!

Anyway I really do love both phases but have a leaning towards painting white (cream) flowers... they can be challenging but also freeing as you can add in whatever colours you like for falling and cast shadows, and of course you can create gorgeous leaf colours, but I find I do have a preference for a cooler palette though when the pink phase arrives I may do another piece in a completely different palette.

Colours used in this were

Green Gold
Pthalo Turquoise

One of my favourite trio of colours....

I did a quick sketch outside to get a feel for the colours and used a touch of pink which I think warms everything up but decided to stick with just the 3 colours when I came to work on my painting. This was the sketch ( more about sketching on another blog!!)

I began to work on a value plan for this painting using my own composition, the idea being that I work entirely from the plan for my painting... only allowing myself the odd glance at a reference photo for some details of the flowers. Working without a photographic reference is not new to me as I have always enjoyed creating a composition from nothing, in fact often worked completely blind and just created on the paper. But as Beverley Wells  keeps telling me "Fail to Prepare...Prepare to Fail"something I have always talked to my children about but not always applied to myself!! So.....more value plans for me!!

As an aside I am now the proud owner of an ipad... never had one before and I have also got an apple pencil which is how I am hoping to do my value plans in the future. Bev uses black watercolour paint and to be fair spends a lot more time on her value plans than I do ( more lessons I need to learn from her!!) but I think using the ipad will help me get a feel for doing them  as I can quickly erase what I've done if I don't like it

This was the plan I started using

What I am learning from this is that it isn't sacrosanct that I stick rigidly to the plan, but it is meant to guide me. I have already decided the values work in my plan so are likely to work on my painting.

I need to use a different programme to get the mid tones but I am working on that too!! Bev felt it needed a few more darks and as I came to work them in around the painting I found some areas weren't working as well so I have tweaked it. One of the reasons for that I think, is that the drawing may not be a complete replica of the plan. I know Bev works her sketches full size whereas I am working ipad size so if I feel I need to change my way of working I will. Any planning is better than none for me at this stage!

Working to a plan like this does strange things to your way of working and I started this by adding the darks first??? Why... I have no idea and for the future I will work in my normal way, which is to build up to the darks. I think normally I don't know where the darks are going until I am getting further on with the painting whereas working from a plan I kno0w before I start so just went for it!

As a result I ended up with an unfinished painting with only dark and light tones

I needed to lose a lot of the intensity while adding other areas of depth, so a couple more sessions or working on it and here is the finished piece

You can see lots of softened edges compared to the earlier stage and some deviation from the plan though not too much. I think this is my most successful painting to date using a plan which hopefully means some of Bev's invaluable help is sinking in!!