"Sunny Serenade", watercolor, 15.5"x10.5"

"Sunny Serenade", watercolor, 15.5"x10.5" (click to enlarge)

The editor requested that I name the finished painting (above). Corny painting names are a pet peeve of mine and so I rarely name them. But as I was uploading the image the name “Sunny Serenade” came to me. I know that’s about as sappy a name as you could try to invent, but since it seemed to name itself, so it shall be.

To finish sharing the steps in the painting, here they are in order, continuing from the previous post.

Painting the green leaves, flowers and stems

Painting the green leaves, flowers and stems

The next step was to work on all of those leaves, stems, buds and little yellow green flowers. Using a variety of mixed greens, some neutralized with Burnt Sienna, I painted the first layers of the leaves. I also glazed details over the yellow green flowers I’d painted previously.

Adding the darks

Adding the darks

I mixed up several puddles of these dark mixtures: Winsor Green, Alizarin Crimson, and Burnt Sienna; Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna; Sap Green and Sepia with a dab of Winsor Red; Winsor Green and Winsor Violet. Then I loaded my brush with one and started painting a section, switching to another one of the puddles as the background colors changed. I was careful to stay within the dark shapes and to negatively paint around lighter shapes. Because watercolor dries lighter, I tried to mix colors that would be dark enough in one layer.

I thought I was finished and signed the painting. The next day I studied the painting with fresh eyes and realized I needed to make some adjustments. I glazed in some more darks on the right of the pitcher and on its handle on the left. I added a middle-dark green mixture to the long leaf that hangs down along the right side of the pitcher and on some other leaves as well. (Compare the pitcher in the top two pictures in this post to see the changes).

While some people have commented that this painting seemed very challenging, in fact an image broken into many small complicated shapes is much easier to paint and more forgiving of “mistakes” than one composed of large simple shapes.

My editor liked the painting and immediately requested the next one, due the end of November. It will be a completely different project: a close up view of some pink orchids with a light background. I will be working much more loosely, mostly wet into wet.

 

 

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Category:
Art theory, Flower Art, Painting, Plants, Still Life, Watercolor
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Join the conversation! 23 Comments

  1. Stunning!! Absolutely breath taking, and the name fits very well. Can you imagine walking into a room and suddenly spy such a lovely bouquet? It would feel like a serenade just for you 🙂

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  2. What a great series of posts Jana! I’ve linked to all three and talked about the book in my post today http://makingamark.blogspot.com/2009/11/22nd-november-2009-whos-made-mark-this.html. I hope it’s OK to include a small detail photo – all properly referenced and linked to the book title, publishers and you.

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    • Thanks Katherine! I did get permission from the publisher to post my pics and stuff about the book and I’m sure they’ll be pleased (as I am, of course) to be mentioned on your blog. Jana

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  3. I love the painting!

    I’m even inspired to try something that would require the same sort of planning and attention to detail…something I thought I could not do…

    Congrats!

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  4. Fabulous!! And congratulations again on the publication and also on the inclusion in the Making a Mark blog! So well-deserved. I’m with you on the corny title thing, but they seem to be a requirement. This one lives up to its title, though!

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  5. Beautiful, Jana! This will be a wonderful addition to the book!! Congratulations on a job well done!

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  6. This is a wonderful post Jana. I really enjoy following the process. It seems like I have dropped by your studio while you are painting. Thank you.

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  7. Congratulations! Painting demos for a book, how cool! They certainly picked the right artist for this. You’re amazing.

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    • Thanks Susan (for the great praise and all you taught me!) I’ve enjoyed getting your newsletters and seeing all the cool creativity classes you’re teaching. Jana

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  8. Jana, the painting is simply lovely! The name is perfect, reflecting the bright, cheerful, riotous colors and shapes. i always learn a lot from your progressive paintings and posts. Thanks!

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  9. What a gorgeous, happy painting. I think I do hear music when I look at it! I could listen to the duet of the blues and orangey-reds all day. It’s fun to see your hand in the painting, too.

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  10. Jana – This is an awesome series of posts. Very hard to leave your blog today.

    Someday I must ask you how you tile your photos to print in sections – I’ve never been able to work it out in Photoshop. Meanwhile – such a gorgeous painting – your colours are making me drool. Particularly love your greens.

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    • Hi Robyn, The way I do the printing in tiles in Photoshop is to set the Image size to the size I want to print, go into the print menu and tell it show the bounding box and unclick fit to page and center. Then if you look at the image in the bottom of the print window you can actually move the bounding box around the image. First you move it top left and print, then top right and print. If you need a print for the middle you put it there. You just keep moving the box around the image and printing. It’s pretty primitive and you end up with a lot of overlap, depending on the size, which you have to cut off.

      I used to do it in InDesign, which I have on my work computer but not my home computer and it does the tiling for you and prints only a half-inch overlap with marks to line things up. But I was being lazy to turn on and hook up my very slow work laptop and thought I’d try it in PS. (If my directions are missing steps or you have a different version, email me and we’ll sort it out. Jana

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  11. Jana – That is so generous to take the trouble to explain your printing tips when you are so busy. I’m forever grateful. I actually have Pagemaker and had never thought to print a large document through that – of course it has the tiling option. Thank you, thank you 🙂

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    • Yay! Glad I could help. Ah yes, Pagemaker! I started using it with PM 1.0 and then it turned into InDesign. I have an illustrated travel book I wrote and laid out in PM and hope someday to find a file conversion program that will let me access the file again. Jana

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  12. Beautiful Jana!!
    ronelle

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  13. I love the colors in this Jana. It looks so complicated but turned out just STUNNING!!!!

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    • Tammy, so great to hear from you again. I hope all is going well. I’m afraid I lost track of you when you went traveling. Have you settled down now somewhere or are you still traveling? Jana

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  14. Jana, this is lovely and so intricate! Thank you so much for sharing your thought process and work in progress on this piece.

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  15. i love your studies… i love doing studies… sooo… yeah i like the cat!!!

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  16. Wow – that’s some vase of flowers – what a wonderful effort, Jana

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