Summer Cosmos

Summer Cosmos.  Rachel Murphree watercolor

Summer Cosmos. Rachel Murphree watercolor

Here’s another painting from the workshop with Carol Carpenter done from a photo of my cosmos from several years ago. These were some of the instructions we followed.

  • Show an odd number of items (more pleasing than even numbers)
  • Have their edges be interesting and varied
  • Make the objects big and near the edges of the painting.Having the items go out of the painting increases the realistic appearance.
  • Keep your brush on the paper using a circular motion to fade out the color and distribute it throughout, keeping soft edges
  • Allow a “window” of lighter color so the scene doesn’t feel claustrophobic
  • Don’t put items at the corners that could lead the viewer’s eye out of the painting (a pointed leaf or stem, for example)
  • Vary the colors by charging in heavier pigment into a wet area to have them blend on the page.  An example of this is the blue shadow under the bottom flower on the right.
  • Bring your background sometimes over the objects to soften the edge.  An example of that is the top right petal of the bottom flower.
  • Put more detail at the focal point which for me is the top flower.  See how much more detailed the top center is than the other two?  The one at the bottom left is the least detailed.

And I’m going to add an extra point I learned from a video with Jake Winkle   His work painting animals is expressive and wonderful.  Thanks to my friend Frances for introducing him to our group.  One of his comments that stuck with me was: Accept the marks you make.  So don’t second guess yourself, paint each brush stroke purposefully and don’t fuss with it if it isn’t exactly right.

For me that happened in the top right blossom where the center and petal colors flowed together and my first inclination was to blot it out but I let it go and it’s now my favorite part of the piece.

I hope you enjoyed hearing the process and tips.  It helps me to write it down again, to learn it all over again and my plan this week is to reinforce it with another couple of paintings keeping all this in mind.  It should be a fun week! Thanks for stopping by… I enjoy hearing from you.