Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Lady's Slippers and the Bumble Bee

I am in between projects right now.  
After completing the hydrangeas I am in the beginning stages of my next big still life.  
I have set my propts in place and am now working out a composition that really catches my eye.  I have another intense drawing to do for this one and thought I needed a little side piece to work on as a break.

Enter Lady's Slippers and the Bumble Bee
Something a little different from me.

I have been really interested in the botanical illustration look of a detailed painting on a clean white background.  That idea became, "What if I added a border design?", and then "What if that design became a stylized little illustration at the top?"and "What if I gave it a title space?"
It's more a sytlized illustration that may or may not become, dare I say, a series.

The bumble bees have been added because in my research I learned that the bumble bee is the only insect that can pollinate this lovely orchid.

WIP.  I got to take out some toys and gagets for this one.

Just in case you're interested here is some interesting info on the Lady's Slipper orchid.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hydrangeas Complete!

The build up on this was slow for a couple of reasons.
It's a rather large piece at 18" x 24" and of course the fine details.
It was important to bring in all the colors that characterize the Hydrangea blossom in late Autum.
This meant adding touches of magenta, pinks, violets, blues, greens and golds.
The branches are bare in spots and the leaves are beginning to fade.

Beginning with a carefully detailed drawing is something I always enjoy.
For this piece it was especially important as a map of sorts to follow through to completion.

This painting came from photos I took while walking around Cooperstown, NY 
on a bright and brisk morning in October.

Onto a new project!
Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, January 9, 2015

This Weeks Progress on Hydrangeas

I have been painting everyday on this large, fairly intricate piece.

Hydrangeas, 18" x 24" Watercolor
Keeping all the little pedals organized takes a lot of patience.
I could have switched to a more loose approach, which is a lovely way to go, 
but not what I had in mind for this piece.
This is a challenge for me and that's what I wanted.

So after blocking in the shade areas and preserving the whites, 
I'd like to tell you that I plunged ahead, but no.
I went for a cup of tea and to watch the new episode of Downton Abbey I missed this week.

I made much better progress today.
The center blossom still needs some color strengthening.
The subtleties required to paint such a soft, complicated flower is another thing that is a challenge for me on this piece.
Go bold or go home is my usual motto but that's why I wanted to try this,
to see if I could have a lighter control in my palette.

Still much work to do but I'm fine with that because I'm throughly enjoying the process!

Moving along a bit slower today.
Must be a Friday thing.
I will continue to fill in the entire area and then go back for color and details.
This is usually the time in a painting in which I have to push through because I'm already thinking about the next painting!

Friday, January 2, 2015


After a very busy Christmas week it was such a pleasure to sit quietly and sink into this drawing.
Once I get going on a very detailed drawing it takes on a rythmn of line and shapes.
You get into the zone of placing one shape next to another.
Each pedal has something which distinquishes it from the next and the longer you concentrate on this aspect, the easier it is to find those characteristics.

Hydrangeas, 18" x 24"

This reference is one of many photos I took while walking around Cooperstown, NY
the morning of my son's wedding.
It was very early and the light was beautiful.
These hydrangeas were past their peak so the color was a bit faded in areas with pops of sap green, ochres and browns creeping into the pedals and leaves.  This made the scene even more special.
I hope I can do it all justice.

There's much to do before painting can begin, picking up excess graphite, 
stretching the paper and painting in resist in spots.

All to be continued next week!
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