Spring Rose Series #6

“Spring Rose Series #6”, oil on Yupo, 12x9”.
“Spring Rose Series #6”, oil on Yupo, 12×9”.

I was careful to get these roses painted in one afternoon, after spending a couple hours arranging the still life and getting the drawing down because I knew the flowers would keep changing. On the second afternoon I worked on the leaves and background. I saved the vase for last, thinking it wouldn’t change. But of course it did, as the flowers slumped and the water level dropped. I wanted to paint it from life, but had trouble making sense of what I was seeing and ended up wiping it off. 

By the next day I had to toss the flowers so I used a photo reference on my iPad of the vase. Two more days of fails and wipe-offs followed. Finally I got to a point where I was willing to declare it done. You can see some of the steps in the process below.

Photo reference and initial block in stages
Photo reference and initial block in stages. Worked on flowers first.
Worked on leaves and background. Tried and failed repeatedly with vase.
Worked on leaves and background. Tried and failed repeatedly with vase.

Spring Rose Series #1

“Spring Rose Series #1”, Oil on Linen Panel, 10x8”
“Spring Rose Series #1”, Oil on Linen Panel, 10×8”

My roses have started their spring parade of long stem blooms and I can’t resist painting them even though I’m allergic to their scent. This painting started a whole series that went from OK (this one) to 5 total fails (each painted on top of the previously scraped one), to one I declared successful, which I’ll post next time.

See photos of the setup and work in progress below. 

Testing Acryla Gouache with Figs and Daffodils

Last figs before pruning, gouache in journal
Last figs before pruning, gouache in journal

I tested the Holbein Acryla Gouache Mixing Set with the last figs from my tree before it got pruned for the winter. Working with the Acryla Gouache seems less like gouache and more like a somewhat more opaque, matte acrylic paint. I’ve been told it works well for underpainting under regular gouache or even oil paints. You can also use acryla gouache over regular gouache to correct problems, which I tried in the painting below.

Daffodils in gouache and acrylic gouache, 8.5” x 11.5” on hot press paper
Daffodils in gouache and acrylic gouache, 8.5” x 11.5” on hot press paper

I painted these daffodils in gouache on hot press paper (which I don’t think works well for gouache…not sure yet). Then I added acrylic gouache over the top to try to fix the mess I made because I had been lazy with drawing the ellipses on the glass…got a little over confident and thought I could just whip them out. But I couldn’t, hence massive corrections and then just giving up.

It’s so simple: get the drawing right first!

Hydrangeas with Post-It Note

Hydrangeas with Post-it Note, oil on Gessobord panel, 10x8" Available
Hydrangeas with Post-it Note, oil on Gessobord panel, 10×8″

My hydrangea plant lives just outside my kitchen window and each year I enjoy painting it. This time I was going for a more abstracted feel with soft, soothing beautiful colors and just the tease of a bent post-it note.

I hope all the rain we’ve had this winter will help it continue to produce fabulous blooms! This painting is available in my DPW gallery.

I love the way the petals range from pink to blue to lavender from the soft yellow when they first sprout. Below is a photo of the setup.

Photo of set up

Iris in an Aqua Cup and Bonus Pear Painting

Iris in an Aqua Cup, oil on unstretched canvas, 12x9"

Iris in an Aqua Cup, oil on unstretched canvas, 12×9″

I was thrilled when my irises bloomed again this year after failing to do so last spring. I love the warm light I was able to capture in this painting. It went through a lot of changes before I finally settled on this version. (Available on my DPW gallery here.)

Bonus Pear, oil on Gessobord, 6x6"

Bonus Pear, oil on Gessobord, 6×6″

This was just a little love letter to a pretty pear. (Available on my DPW Gallery here.)

Struggling with Sunflowers Again

Sunflowers #1-A; oil on Arches Oil Paper, 17

Sunflowers #1-A; oil on Arches Oil Paper, 17″x10″

Sunflower Attempt #1 (Above) This one quickly went off the rails, the flowers got scraped off and then not repainted because the actual flowers had keeled over and I had nothing to work with.

Sunflower Attempt #1-B (Below)

There are some interesting things about this composition but I was still working too large (about 16×11″) and by the time I started painting after getting it sketched and blocked in it was too late in the day and the next day the flowers were falling over. The brown scarf Read More

Painting popcorn ball flowers (hydrangeas) instead…

Hydrangeas (popcorn ball flowers)

Have you ever been so sleepy you’re just slap-happy silly? That’s how I was yesterday. I’ve been trying to change my schedule to get up early and go to bed early but after a few days of doing the former but not the latter, I was so sleep-deprived yesterday afternoon that I just stopped making sense, even to myself.

When I get over-tired, instead of thinking, “sleep,” I think I’m hungry and crave carbs (and now research is showing that sleep deprivation causes weight gain and other health risks…see here and here).  So instead of eating popcorn (or going to bed at 7:00), I decided to paint these “popcorn ball flowers” (as my sister and I used to call hydrangeas when we were kids…and I thought everybody did until I Googled “popcorn ball flowers because I can never remember their real name, and discovered only recipes for making flowers out of popcorn and no references to hydrangeas!).

First I had to refill my watercolor palette because a couple weeks ago I’d washed out all the funky old paint that had been in there for too long. Some of it was getting moldy and all of it was dirty.  Before refilling my palette, I did color tests of all my paints to decide which pigments I wanted to use now. I love organizing things, so this was a perfectly soothing task for a tired mind.

Finally I was ready to paint, and grabbed my homemade 6×8” sketchbook filled with hot pressed Fabriano Artistico paper, and this bouquet of hydrangeas from my yard that I’d plopped into a drinking glass the day before. Instead of starting with my usual ink drawing, I used pencil and then painted using more of an oil painting technique, starting with the darkest darks instead of the lights.

Maybe it was because I was so tired, but I had so much fun, just being playful as I painted and not worrying about the outcome. As usual I wished I’d stopped about 10 minutes sooner and someday I’ll learn that “when you’re 75% finished you ARE finished!”  Some day….

If you’d like to know which pigments I settled on, click “Continue Reading for the details…. Read More

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