I am taking part in a miniature art exchange on wetcanvas.com with the theme "Anything that doesn't walk". I have based most of mine around flowers (surprise, surprise) using watercolour. I experimented with a looser style on several of them ahd share a couple of them here.
They are both 10x15 cm (4"x6"). They're fun to do and exciting, as the outcome is surprising. I have a couple more but I need to wait until the recipient receives them before I upload them.
"Datura belongs to the classic "witches' weeds," along with deadly nightshade, henbane and mandrake. Most parts of the plants contain toxic hallucinogens, and datura has a long history of use for causing delirious states and death. It was well known as an essential ingredient of love potions and witches' brews"
I have a beautiful Magnolia Grandiflora in the garden that is over 10 metres high but I have never completed a painting of the magnolias. Towards the end of summer I thought 'Oh no I'm going to miss it again' so I immediately picked one and plonked it in a jug. It was just past it's prime but as the last one left I decided to go ahead.
I used a black boxed canvas, sketched the design using a white watercolour pencil and started to block in the darks and lights.
Followed by a few more and gradually adding more colour.
This is with more local colour. It always looks quite scary at this stage.
I added more and more white and colour gradually lightening the petals, the next photos show the coming to life of the flower.
I used white gesso to smooth out the form of the petal, and also mixed it with some shadow colours to soften up the graduation from light to dark.
I wanted to get the feeling of the heaviness of the flower but to show it's beauty was already disappearing. I hope I achieved some of that feeling.
Another sunflower painted for the same challenge as "Sunflower Fire" this time in watercolour.
To start this painting, I liberally applied masking fluid in a random pattern - squiggly lines and splashes over the paper. After that was dry I wet the paper and dropped in yellow, red and blue washes. I then sketched in the sunflowers following the reference but adapting it to take account of the lights and darks created by the masking fluid and washes.
I used mainly pure colour, allowing it to mix on the paper. Unfortunately, not much of the highlights left by the masking fluid can be seen in the final but it is an interesting exercise to do and it gives a more spontaneous feel to the painting.
Initially I was a little disappointed in the result as I feel I did not leave enough highlights, but now that it is thoroughly dry it is growing on me.
Certainly a technique worth trying again.
This painting is also from another challenge on Wetcanvas.com and thank you to Kay (KreativeK) for providing it.
I know I said that I was no longer painting with soft pastels, but I keep getting drawn back in to using them and the strong colours in the reference shouted soft pastels at me. I discovered some Sennelier fine sanded card in my cupboard which I had purchased way back and actually forgotton I had.
As usual, I started out by blocking in the lights and darks. I used Neocolor II soluble crayons as an underpainting. I've been using these a lot just lately regardless of medium, they have a lot of pigment in and I find that they give a very good underpainting. I usually use water to wash the pigment in, but then remembered the Sennelier surface doesn't like water, so I used alcohol instead. The wash came out darker than I expected it to and was not quite so easy to create as I am used to. Recently I have been using Fischer sanded card and this accepts water and my washes are normally lighter.
Sunflower Fire stage 1 -
I used cool colours for the shadows and lights for the highlights. In my florals I like to use yellow for underpainting my main highlights. I think you can see that the wash was not so successful on this ground and it looks very dark and messy.
Sunflower Fire - stage 2.
Blocking in with local colour - not looking quite so messy now.
Sunflower Fire - stage 3
More colour added - trying to find those subtle shifts of light and darks. Taking shape at this stage.
Sunflower Fire - completed.
I continued layering colours and breaking up the blocks of colour until I was happy. I knocked back the background sunflower as it was competing with the star of the show. The final touches was the speck on the sunflower head, which I achieved by grating some yellow, dark red and orange pastel over it, covering it with a piece of paper and applying pressure to adhere the particles.
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After completing my poppy medley, I had the urge to paint more poppies. I gave myself a stern lecture and insisted I finish some half finished paintings first before starting something new.
Red poppies on black
I started this one a couple of months ago. It is in oil pastel and I wanted to see if I could portray poppies in oil pastel. I love painting them in soft pastel and I have also painted them in watercolour and acrylic. This is from one of my own photographs of poppies in my garden here in France. I let them self seed every year and as I don't do much weeding they reward me with a wonderful show every year.
RED POPPIES ON BLACK
30x40 cm, oil pastel on Somerset Velvet paper.
The blue stands out a little too much in the photo, although I have reduced it in photshop. It's difficult photographing art work on black paper, if anyone knows of any good tips on how to do it, please let me know. The paper is a lovely paper to work on. It is a printing paper and works well for soft pastel as well as for oil pastels. It has a soft 'springy' surface and takes a lot of wear and tear.
This is the second one I finished. It is a rework of a failed watercolour painting.
30X40cm oil pastels on watercolour paper.
This is also from one of my own photos but from my English garden taken about 5 years ago.
I learnt a lot about oil pastels with this painting. I was having trouble with it and thought I had spoilt it completely. But because I left it alone for a while, when I came back to it I was able to over work it with quite a few more layers and even completely change the shape of the bottom poppy.
I'd be interested in your opinions on these as I quite like the way the turned out although I did wonder if oil pastels was too heavy a medium for the subject.
Poppy Medley 30x30cm coloured pencil on sanded card.
This painting is from the May Plant Parade challenge on Wet Canvas. I cropped one of the photos and painted the underpainting in my usual way but this time using water solouble neopastel and water to cover the paper. I have used the neopastels for the under painting on several oil pastel paintings and it works well for me.
Initially I planned to do this painting in oil pastels, but something made me decide to use coloured pencil which I hadn't used for quite a while.
I sharpened my pencils and set to work on stage 2 - making the colours look 'real'
This is the stage where it starts to look more like the objects. I decided that I need more of this 'colouring' stage and here is stage 2.2
Definitely starting to look like flowers now!
Stage 3 is finding the changes in plane and lights and shadows on the petals by dividing the larger masses into smaller masses.
The light through the petals is starting to show.
Stage 4 is more of the same - splitting the masses and really looking at the colours and pushing them and putting in that all important centre of the main poppy.
I enjoyed painting this one and the coloured pencils worked well on the sanded paper which did not use up the pencils as much as I thought they would.
25x32cm oil pastel on black somerset velvet paper.
The Floral and Botanicals forum of wetcanvas.com January challenge was to paint white flowers. One of the supplied references was a lovely photo of some white jonquils which I couldn't resist. Painting white flowers is quite a challenge for me as I find it extremely hard to get the right balance of white and shadows.
I have started painting in oil pastels instead of the soft pastels to avoid the dust created with the soft pastels. They act totally different to soft pastels and using them is a whole new experience. I really enjoy using them although I consider myself a newbie with them.
This is my stage 1 where I block in the highlights and shadows with warm and cool colours.
This is stage 2 where I start changing the colours to look 'real'.
This is stage 3 where I look for the different light and dark planes in each block of colour and start the layering process to give a more 3D effect. I am using creams and whites for the highlights and blues and purples for the shadow areas. The flowers are starting to come alive now.
Stage 4 is more layering, I go over some of the highlights with yellow covering that with more white. I also blend some areas to achieve a smoother change from the highlights to the shadows. After leaving the oil pastel to set for a couple of days, I then look at the painting to assess if there are any final changes needed. I changed the angle of a couple of the petals and layered more whites and blue in the shadows. Overall, I was quite pleased with the result.
I have been selling cards at Greetings Card Universe (GCU) for a while now. I use my paintings and photographs to create original cards. I thought I would share with you some of my art cards for easter/spring available via GCU. These cards make
These cards are a card and gift at the same time as they can be framed as a keepsake by the recipient.
The mimosa painting was looking a bit dull and I wondered what could be done to liven it up. I remembered a tip I'd been given by another wet canvas member (colorix). Using a grater I grated some soft pastel in yellow and dark green over the painting. This was very effective. I was surprised about how effective this was. A little bit, went a long way. I then pressed the gratings into the paper by applying pressure to a piece of tracing paper laid over the top. The 'bits' have stayed firmly in place.
Mimosa is grown here commercially on the Cote d'azur mainly for the perfume industry in Grasse. In late January/beginning February the hills around Cannes are covered in yellow. A wonderful sight.