Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Inspiration Strikes Again....

The decision to draw and paint a subject isn't something that can normally be put into a tangible list. Inspiration strikes at any time, with a fierceness that can always surprise. We all have moments of inspiration in our daily lives: the new idea at work, the change to a recipe we're cooking, etc. I see inspiration as one of the many gifts from God that we can choose whether or not we act on.

Sometimes I instantly see a subject in nature and know that I want to paint it. I'm always ready with a camera to take pictures, especially during the "golden hours" around sunrise or sunset when the light is just perfect. There are a lot of times that I return later to photos I have taken and then the inspiration strikes. I'm sure it depends on my mood, the season and what is occuring in my life that makes me gravitate towards certain subjects at certain times.

I was outside my house at sunset a couple of months ago and took a picture of one of my yellow daylilies. It was still shrouded in some shade, but it's tips were catching the sunlight and it was just gorgeous. I knew then that it would be my next painting subjects (even though I had a few projects that I had already promised that were unfinished :)

So, I began working on the yellow daylily painting:
With watercolors, color choices and timing are very important. Watercolors are transparent, so laying down a dark color and putting a lighter color on top may not work out as well as it would with acrylics and oils. It's easier to save (not paint) the white areas of the watercolor paper than it is to go back and add in highlights later.

I drew not the flower, but what makes up the flower and light as it comes through it. Drawing takes almost as much time as painting. I started laying in the yellows and a green and blue background in this photo.

Next, I began defining the daylily with color. It isn't simply a yellow daylily, but various shades and colors within it. I used cadmium lemon, cadmium yellow medium and yellow ochre to define different areas of the daylily. More shading and definition will come later, but I have to build my color. More layers of Ultramarine Blue and Russian Green are used for the background to help bring this daylily forward in the painting.
Here's the painting with all the petals filled in with the various shades of yellows, a few oranges and a little burnt sienna for the parts of the flower where the sun was warming up its' color.

More layers of Ultramarine, Russian Blue, Russian Green and Violet go into the background. Since the photo was taken at sunset, this daylily was in quite a bit of shade on the underside of the petals. Even though this is a yellow daylily, the shadows in the fading sunlight appeared blue on the daylily and really showed its' wonderful textures, folds, and curves. In the picture below you can see where I began adding in the shadows.

Finally, it was time to add the drama and details. The last layers of blues, greens and purples were applied. I also added more burnt umber and cad orange to some of the petals, the throat of the daylily and defined the inside of the daylily. More ultramarine was added to clearly define the shadows. I was careful to leave my paper white or very light for the highlights, but I also used a scrubber brush to make smaller highlighted areas by removing a few layers of paint. It also gives the daylily a little of the silky look that the petals have. All that was left was a to sign it. This one took awhile! I was ready to complete it!

Up next, is a portrait that I'm working on. Once it's finished, I'll explain the back story for it and the process in painting it.

My goal is to blog a little more often, so hopefully you will see an update again from me soon!