I take a walk almost every day. I’m blessed to live next to a beautiful older neighborhood in south St Louis called Holly Hills. Leona street runs alongside the western edge of Carondelet Park. That is where I was walking when I passed a front yard consisting entirely of a flower garden, complete with running fountain. I was at sunset, and the sun
was peeking from between the 2 houses behind the garden. I loved the way the shaft of golden light was caught and shattered on the flowers and leaves of these echinacea.
The first thing I did was a detailed drawing. Then, I masked in the foreground, which includes the flowers, leaves, stems, and some of the foliage on the left. I got thoroughly wet the sheet of paper, then painted in a very soft background in blue-green, violet, and green. I also included some of the background flowers in violet, orange, and red. The colors ran into each other and created the soft effect, which gives the illusion of depth. I also made a point to keep the background cool, because cool colors recede and enhance this 3 dimensional appearance.
When this paint was completely dry, I removed the masking fluid. I painted in the foreground leaves and stems, and then the flowers. I’m very grateful to The Mind of Watercolor youtube channel for teaching me the techniques of watercolor.
I’m making a foray into watercolor painting! Up until recently, I always said to myself “I already do oils, acrylics, and pastels. I don’t need to do watercolors”. However, one day I picked up a set of Tombow watercolor brush pens just to sketch with in the field. I started playing around with them at home in the studio. I really enjoyed the fluid, organic way the paints mixed together on the paper. I also love that I don’t have much set up or clean up, just put the pens in their storage container. The luminous transparent quality is very nice too.
I’ve been learning the technical how-to’s of watercolor from a great youtube channel called “The Mind of Watercolor”.
I worked from a photo of bleeding heart flowers that I took while walking around the Missouri Botanical Garden with my husband. I thought the pink flowers were striking against the bright yellow green foliage.
I started by doing a line drawing. Then, I masked in all but the background with masking fluid, so I could put a graduated wash in for the background. I used watered down acrylic paints in lemon yellow, quinacridone magenta, and viridian green. The latter 2 pigments mixed made a type of violet. After the background wash dried, I removed the masking fluid. I had some minor problems with some of the paper coming up with the masking fluid, because the lady at Dick Blick sold me student grade cheap watercolor paper. (I have since purchased an Arches watercolor block, and will save the cheap paper for sketches and exercises).
Then, I painted in the blooms. I used pink at the top, and then a light layer of violet and light gray because the pink was too saturated in chroma. On the bottom, I added more pink, and violet. For the stems, I did a layer of yellow green, then a layer of hot pink. Then, I did the leaves in pale yellow, and pale green. I was not happy with the outcome. It had no pizzaz. I added more yellow to the leaves. I decided to go impressionistic, and did some pointillism with some Posca pens to add in some highlights, and to unify the colors. I put some green dots in the flowers, and some pink and violet dots in the leaves. I used an ivory Posca pen for highlights on the flowers and leaves. This definitely improved it, and made it more original. I want to try more pointillism in the future.
I just finished this painting a few minutes ago. I used a photo as a reference for this. My usual style is high key, colorful painting. My goal in this particular piece was to loosen up a bit, and paint somewhat more softly. I love how the violets and blues in the mists contrast with the golds, yellows, and reds in this.
My palette consisted of zinc/titanium white, cadmium lemon, cadmium yellow deep, yellow ochre, burnt sienna, purple lake, indigo, and terre verte, and burnt umber. (I don’t care much for terre verte, but I wanted to use it up). I mixed indigo with burnt umber to make my dark.
Fall is my favorite time of year. We had an especially spectacular one this year here in Missouri. It was extended due to warmer than usual weather.