22 April 2012

Daffodil Surprise: The process

I decided to give the daffodils another shot, so I bought a new bunch, put them in the same spot in the same vase, waited for them to open, and started over. I had a little surprise when one of them turned out to be a different color from the rest!

In the previous daffodil picture, I felt like I had lost control of the paint and couldn't achieve some of the effects I was trying for--everything got a bit muddy--so in this one I decided to be slower and more deliberate. Since I was doing that anyway, I documented as I went along. I'm finding this helps me not only to know what I have done, but to make conscious decisions as I go along about what to do next, which saves me from mistakes I make when I'm hasty.

I like most paintings to have a warm glow (especially, of course, those with daffodils), so I washed everything except the vase and the wall in the background with a light yellow underpainting. The vase is more of a pinky-beige, and the white wall, being in shadow, became gray with a hint of teal.

Next was the table. More work goes into this later, but for now, just some directional painting in the basic color.
I laid down some varying yellows and introduced greens and golds to start differentiating the flowers.
 Stems here, and adding some darks and definition into the flowers and the background. I didn't put the narrow glimpse of the dining room into the last painting, but I decided it added some interest and depth, so I included it in this one, although I simplified--left out jutting edges of furniture, stenciling on the wall, etc.
This is where I went for the vase. You can see from the aborted orange area on the left-hand daffodil that I went in too soon while things were wet and had to blot and stop. This is always a good time to move to another area of the painting, if you can, and distract yourself until the problem area dries and can be addressed again! You can see at the lower right side that I should have walked away from the painting for awhile--while working on the vase, I managed to put my hand into wet paint on the table and floor. I can fix that, though.

And here is the final painting, with the orange surprise flower painted in. I strengthened some colors, put some variation and shadows on the wall, added my darkest darks all through, and moved color around. My watercolor teacher from L.A. Valley College, Carol Bishop, always told us--if you introduce a color into one part, be sure it appears somewhere else as well so it doesn't feel like an anomaly--so I put a little orange wash into the table and a touch on the vase, and brought some blues and grays up into the flowers (though probably too subtly) to unify the painting. Somehow, because the daffodils are on taller stems in this painting, the vase is almost more the star of this one. This is a much more realistic rendering. Maybe I'll try one more that's fast and loose, with ink and splashy paint...although for me it will be more "consciously spontaneous," if you know what I mean--spontaneity and painting don't come naturally yet!

Thanks for looking...