After all the struggles of the previous day, I was determined to succeed in painting a rose and decided to give myself a break. First I rearranged the colors in the palette, putting them in my prefered, mostly color-wheel order instead of helter skelter as they were, and replaced several colors (see below for color chart).
(WN=Winsor Newton, S=Schmincke, DS= Daniel Smith, H=Holbein):
Top Row: WN Transparent Yellow, S Cadmium Yellow Light, DS New Gamboge, S Cadmium Red Light, WN Permanent Alizarin, WN Permanent Rose.
Middle Row: WN Violet, S Ultramarine, WN Cobalt Blue, H Cerulean Blue, WN Winsor Blue, DS Indanthrone Blue.
Bottom Row: S Thalo Green, WN Sap Green, S Yellow Ochre, WN Burnt Sienna, DS Indigo, S Titanium White (the latter will probably be removed since I’ve never successfully been able to incorporate white into watercolors).
The other thing I did to give myself a break was that after I made the second to last rose sketch above from life, I decided to work from a photo of the rose.
That’s how I painted the rose at the top of the post. I displayed the photo on my iPad and drew it freehand with pencil instead of my usual ink, trying to be accurate in the shapes and dimensions (I even used an eraser!). Then I painted one petal at a time with my new palette arrangement. It was fun and relaxing and finally I got a rose sketch I could accept.
My takeaway from the War of the Roses: To me, the point of art making is to enjoy the process and to learn. Finding a way to balance struggle with success, work with play, and tension with relaxation just might be the key to that enjoyment.
Yes, drawing and painting from life are essential for building skills. But why not make life a little easier once in a while and paint from a photo where the subject holds still and the light doesn’t change?
I get so focused on working hard that sometimes I have to remind myself of the advice in this wise cartoon: