Graphite in 6×9 Aquabee sketchbook
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I’ve been struggling with an oil painting of this image …
and finally realized that it wasn’t working because I hadn’t first done a value study and compositional sketches. So tonight I set aside the painting and started over with this sketch to simplify the image and study the values. I took the photo on a rainy day in December when the sun suddenly broke through and lit up these roses I’d just clipped from the garden that were still blooming despite the December storm.
As much as I love to draw, sometimes I’m impatient to get to the fun, juicy painting and so I skip the preliminary studies. Once in a while that approach works, but more often it ends up feeling like I’m wandering and lost in a maze, with no end in sight.
But if I start with a study or two first to determine what really interests me about the image, how I can simplify it, where I want the focus to be, where the lights and darks are, what I want to exaggerate or de-emphasize, and what colors I’m REALLY seeing, then I have a much better chance of success and hence a lot more fun with the paint. I might still get lost along the way, but I know my destination and how to get there.
I wonder if I should have one leaf overlapping the front of the bottle. If you see any compositional problems or have suggestions, I’d be happy to hear them. Sometimes I find it so hard to see the problems in my own work. Just looking at now in the post I can see I need to lengthen the stem on the top left rose as it looks a little too short to me.
I’m going to start over, using my new sketch as a reference so I can focus on the light, and the colors in the bottle which was what interested me in the first place. If I don’t get tired of it, I might try it in oil, acrylic (bought some acrylics today) and watercolor, just for fun.