A Rose is a Rose — 30 in 30 day 4

While the rose bouquet was still looking fresh and lively, I thought I’d do some contour sketching, and then better sketches and then translate it into paint.  So, for today, here’s a rose for you!

For the shadow in the yellow part of the bud, I tried a touch of cobalt into the yellow or the orangy mix.  Still thinking about how to do that better.  Next one I will lift out to get the paler color yellow.  This piece is about 4″ tall and done with transparent yellow, cad scarlet permanent rose, and cobalt.

The 30 in 30 painting challenge is one that I’ve participated in twice yearly for several years and it is always a fun, challenging and productive month when I do it. Click on the link to see other people’s works that they’ve done today.  there are about 1000 artists all over the world participating this time.






Apple Cactus Bud — Day 11 of the 30 in 30 challenge

Finished watercolor

Finished Apple Cactus bud watercolor, a real learning experience!

I finished this painting yesterday but waited until today to snap a picture of it in daylight, to try and get the true colors. I also tried scanning it and it came out a whole lot more yellow green than it is in reality. The actual painting is more teal in the back spears.

I’m heading out to work but wanted to quickly jot some things I learned.

I really enjoy working with a limited palette and I feel like I really got to *know* these three and more importantly how they interact with each other.  I like how they lift relatively easy from the paper.  This was on Fabriano paper which I don’t use as much, really prefer Arches but not sure I can articulate why.  I think that painting the entire background in a “mother” color of a pale blue green might unify the spears more, that’s a problem I see in this painting.  now I’m more comfortable with larger puddles, larger brushes and covering more of the surface so that is definitely something to consider next time.

I’m enjoying the daily thought and practice of painting and feel it’s pushing me farther along, even though I’m not satisfied with this painting, it is what it is, and now time to move on!!

Photo of cactus bud

Photo of Apple Cactus (Cereus repandus) blossom

here’s the photo again from which I painted.  You can see that the spears behind the bud itself are a grayer/bluer tone than the ones behind the stem, and I didn’t convey that.  Perhaps a wash over the background ones might help but I think those are thoughts for when I paint this again.

Planning on painting this afternoon…thanks for stopping by.

Phase 3 getting closer…. Day #10 of the challenge.

Work in progress, mostly completed

Phase 3 of the watercolor process. Click the image to view it larger.

Ok folks, the dark blob is gone, and the surface is completely covered with paint. But it’s not done. I’m hoping that tomorrow, when I add the shadows, it will help it come to life. Or not…

So far in the painting I’ve only used one of each blue, red, and yellow.  Cerulean, quinacridone red, and winsor yellow. I was struggling with how to make the blues and greens darker, and frankly I’ve realized that cerulean blue cannot get much darker than it is.  And I’ve read this before about this blue, but it just didn’t “click” until I was trying to actually make a dark value. So I believe that I have to use another blue, ultramarine?  or indathrene?  I think that latter would take over.  So I have to research and do tests on how to make the shadows to help form the areas where the spines fold, and also the shadow of the bud against the back foliage. That will definitely make the paler bud “pop”.

The dark blob came from trying to use the red to darken, and that just made browns, because (repeat after me!) blue and orange make browns and grays, and I’m combining a red/yellow to make orange.  And while the theory is that if you use the same colors in the picture you’ll have unity because they relate, that brown was NOT good. The three colors I used are transparent and even though some are moderately staining, they lifted, or were removed from the surface fairly easily with clear water and dotting it with a tissue, to not spread the water.

I’ve learned SO MUCH from this whole process of trying to paint this photo, and also explaining it in the blog posts. This challenge has been so good for me.   We’ll see what tomorrow brings… hope you join me!

Apple cactus bud…further along Day #9 of the challenge

Painting in step

Phase 2 of the watercolor process.  Click the image to view it larger.

So here we are at the end of the second day. I was pretty happy with it until trying to make the shadowed interior of the spear to the upper left of the blossom.See that big dark blob? Rather than letting it dry and maybe thinking about it overnight, I plowed through and tried to make it work.  And there’s no real “undo” button in watercolor!

So, taking a deep breath and waiting to see it in the light of day with the distance of time….  it’s only paint and paper after all.  There are so many life lessons in watercolor…take your time, have patience, keep trying…

There are parts of it that I really like!  love how the granulating blue pigment interacts with the yellow in the spears.  Think that values (darker spears backing lighter bud) work well…excepting the big dark blob!!!  LOL

It’s a start…. day #7 of the challenge

in progress watercolor

In progress apple cactus bud in watercolor. Click on the image to see it larger.

Here’s the in progress piece, with just the bud transferred to the watercolor paper.  The paper is 9.5″ tall and I”m having such a good time blending the colors on the paper.  What I’m not happy with is the pencil lines.  I haven’t worked with values this pale all over before, and I’m realizing that I should have erased all the pencil lines before beginning, leaving just a trace.   I have erased the stem areas, you can see how you can still barely see them, but for the rest, once they are painted over, they can’t be erased.

Usually with darker values of paint, erasing doesn’t work for me, but in this case, I don’t care for how they appear.  But I will continue it to get a practice for the second attempt when I will erase all the marks.  .  I’m excited to see how the pale pinks of the top of the bud will “pop” against the darker background of the cactus spears… not sure what to call them! leaves?

So for now, this will be how it stays until the light is fresh tomorrow.  oh yes, the colors are quinacridone red, winsor yellow, and cerulean blue which granulates, i.e. makes a grainy texture, which I think will be quite effective on the dark green shapes behind the bud.

Thanks for checking in on my progress!! have a great weekend.

Apple Cactus — Day 7 of the Challenge

Photo of cactus bud

Photo of Apple Cactus blossom. Click on the image to view it larger

Today I started sketching for a larger painting using one of my photos, taken when the kids were toddlers and I could only dream of having time to paint!

This is an apple cactus (cereus repandus) another common name is Peruvian Tree Cactus.  We don’t see many of these in our neighborhood yards in El Paso, although there is one that I recall.  I took this picture in Palm Springs, CA in the mohave desert region.  If you click on the link you’ll see comments from people all over the world with experience with this plant.

sketch of apple cactus bud

Pencil sketch of apple cactus bud in sketchbook. Click on the image to view it larger.

I had the most relaxing hour sketching this and envisioning how I would paint it.  I hope that I do it justice, at some point in the many times I try it!  Smile.  I will sketch it bigger tomorrow, transfer it to paper and start practicing the delicate washes of pale color required for the bud tip.
I cropped the image to have separate areas that are smaller to work on, as opposed to a wash covering a sky.  I find those easier to handle.  I know I’ll have to get the values correct (darks and lights) and also when to make soft edges or hard edges, where the color stops in a distinct line.

This will be challenging and fun!

More found item sketches