Today I want to take you further through the process of painting the lantana blooms. Not too much to show for huge work for the last day of the painting challenge, but there was a lot of planning, sketching, and patience waiting for the wash to dry!
So my first task was to figure out where the stems and leaves would go and how they would look. I considered putting in a seed cluster also but it muddied up the composition. it would have to be somewhere between the blossoms and it was too crowded there. You can see that I used the plein air painting sketches to influence how I sketched and what the structure is.
Once I decided on the drawing, the next step would have been to transfer it to the watercolor paper somehow, and you dont’ want to put extra pencil and erasure marks on the paper because it mars the surface. This paper is 300 lb which is thick and doesn’t work well on my light box to transfer, so I will probably cover the pencil marks on the back with a pencil rubbed sideways (to put a layer of graphite onto the back of it), place it on the paper and trace the design so that the graphite will make marks on the watercolor paper.
I realized that it would leave me with a white background, looking like a botanical type illustration, and that’s not the effect I wanted, with the soft washes of the blooms. I know that the best thing to do is to put in colors that suggest areas of foliage and other blooms in the background, so I went back to my garden, knelt down to get a bird’s eye view photo of a random blossom, and snapped to see where on the picture plane the colors would go. How far up would the foliage greens go? do you see blooms, etc.?
The next step was to wet the paper with water with a soft brush going over the edges of the blooms and then laying in the colors from the prepared puddles of yellows, blues and rose, letting the colors mingle on the paper. I covered the edges of the blooms because I didn’t want the background colors to dry with a hard edge where the water stopped and have it be kind of a hard halo around the bloom. there were places where the colors mingled and the rose with the green made a brownish gray and I lifted that area with a tissue (along the right side of the bottom left cluster) to get a soft white glow.
The last in process picture is with the tracing paper back on top so you can see where the stems and leaves are in relation to the dried pale colors on the background. the process today will be negatively and positively painting the stem and leaves, floating more color in wet in wet and then seeing if the background muted colors need to be amped up in any place. Stay tuned!