The little known Hayward Japanese Garden is a lovely and a very peaceful place. I set up my easel inside one of the little structures sprinkled throughout the gardens as it had a good view and nice shade on a very sunny day last week. It was also a popular spot for wedding and family photos, as two different wedding parties came to take photos at this spot while we painted.
There were a number of challenges with this painting. First was the complicated scene I chose. Also painting under a roof in a shaded area looking directly at a bright scene was tricky.
I was attracted by the rhythm of the crisscrossing diagonals of the bridge, the building, the tree and the reflections. While I was pleased that I met my goal for this session: to focus on composition, I only got as far as an underpainting on site (after starting with thumbnails, value study and a fairly careful drawing). I worked on it some more today from a photo on my computer screen.
Now I see a few things I’d like to adjust (toning down the bright yellow greens, shrinking the rocks under the tree that somehow grew while I was painting, and adding some dark accents). But that will have to wait because…
Now it’s time to get to work on the first watercolor for a book commission that is due in two weeks. I’ll be making three paintings for another book about painting flowers in watercolor by my previous publisher. I love the first photo I was assigned to paint from and am excited about the project. It’s so cool getting paid to paint flowers! I’m supposed to photograph 6 stages of the painting and then ship it off to London for them to make the final photo, Then they’ll send me back the painting and the digital file.
I’m hoping I can post some of the steps here, but my guess is that since they get publishing rights, I probably can’t. Either way, first I have to get painting!