I have a new lighting and camera setup in the studio and so it had to be tested and what better than a couple of poppies. I started by breaking down the blooms into light and shadow and then layered over the subtle crinkles of the poppes. Tried very hard to not overwhelm the overall lights and shadows otherwise all is lost and any three dimensionality evaporates. The background foliage went in in two layers and a used the darks to bring the petals forward and define the overall shape of the flowers. Just about got away with it and managed to stop fiddling before everything was ruined.
There’s also a video of the whole thing in all the gory detail.
This was HELL! I had the idea to try painting flowers on hot press paper. It wasn’t a good idea. I thought the hot press would keep the colors bright as the paint doesn’t sink in so much. However the paint also dries immediately it hits the paper so blending and losing edges was nigh on impossible. I soldiered on even though the thing was looking wretched and bit by bit it came back together.
I have a love hate relationship with painting flowers. As I’ve said countless times before they seem as though they’ll be enjoyable and relatively easy to paint. Bright colors, loose forms, doesn’t matter too much if you draw the leaves slightly off. And I’m wrong every time.
The thing about flowers is that their beauty has a lot of subtlety to it. The variation of color and value in the petals is key to capturing that and that is where a lot of us lack the required skills. If the delicate modeling of the curve of a petal is slightly off — slightly too dark in the shadows, slightly too abrupt in the change of tone — you lose the effect.
So considering what I was up against these poppies came out really quite well. Fresh colors – just enough change in the color to suggest petal shape. Not bad at all. Plenty to improve upon of course but isn’t there always?
Some intermediates :
These were the first washes. As you can see I’d been trying to match colors on a separate piece of paper and I
I’d gone plenty dark enough in the flowers. I was completely wrong.
Second layer :
I’d been wrestling with the flowers for a while here. The left hand one I did first and it has slightly too much value difference in the petals. The large one on the right came out much better.
The final thing :
I had quite a lot of fun painting the innards of the vase. Water is always fun to paint – you can be quite loosey goosey with it and it will still read well. And, for some reason, people are really impressed with it.
I did a little beefing up of the color in the left hand flower but left most alone. Pretty happy.