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Wednesday Night with Hydrangeas and Windows 7

Hydrangea #3, ink and watercolor, 9x6"
Hydrangea in Cow Glass #3, ink and watercolor, 9x6"

I just needed some peaceful time at my watercolor table tonight to unwind. I’ve been admiring this hydrangea that’s been on my dining table in a little cow glass, the last remaining from a bouquet I’d picked. It’s soft pinks and greens were inspiring so I put on a book on CD and sketched and painted and listened to the story unfold.

Above is the third one, drawn first with a Pitt Artist Pen Sepia Superfine and then painted quickly with watercolor.

Below is the second one, painted directly without drawing first except with my brush and paint.

Hydrangea in Cow Glass #2, watercolor
Hydrangea in Cow Glass #2, watercolor

And here is the first one, drawn first with pencil, then I wet the flower area, dropped in different colors and when dry painted a bit over it. This one got a bit overworked but had some nice moments along the way:

Hydrangea in Cow Glass #1, graphite and watercolor
Hydrangea in Cow Glass #1, graphite and watercolor

You can see my notes in my sketchbook about never being able to remember the name of these flowers. I always go through a list of wrong names first and then have to look it up. It’s like the spot on my mental hard drive that once held the name “Hydrangea” has been corrupted and I just can get there anymore. But then I never really learned the name until a few years ago; we always called them “popcorn ball plants” when I was growing up.

I hope the colors look OK. I updated my computer to Windows 7 last night (finishing the final steps this evening) and things look a little different. Windows 7 is fantastic so far and the upgrade process was almost flawless. (Just one glitch with my graphics card driver that got resolved pretty easily.)

Gardening Life in general Oil Painting Painting Photos Plants Still Life

Humble Hydrangeas; Antidote to Procrastination

Humble Hydrangeas
Humble Hydrangeas

These humble but persistent hydrangeas were still blooming outside my kitchen window, despite suffering through drought then rain and cold.  Their leaves were few, gray and blotchy and the stems were bent and woody but the flowers just weren’t giving up.

While I worked on the painting I was thinking about humility. I’ve discovered that being humble is a good antidote to procrastination.

When I think that I have to be “good” at something (especially painting), it creates fear that I won’t be. Then I find myself either procrastinating or, if it strikes while I’m painting, reworking a painting again and again because it’s not “perfect” yet.

I’ve found that the best way to step out of that rut of perfectionism is to focus on being honestly humble and not worry about being good, better, best, or perfect. All I have to be is humble little me and like the hydrangeas, just hang in there and shine forth.

About the painting:

I was trying to see and paint light and make good use of color temperature and value contrasts to model the form. I started by doing a monochrome underpainting in acrylic, but didn’t really like the way the acrylic paint kind of ruined the wonderful texture of the ArtBord.  Here are the steps along the way:

1 & 2 are photos of the still life set up, the second in black and white to look at values.