Magnificent Magnolias, Pt. 4

Magnificent Magnolia (Watercolour)

Magnificent Magnolia (Watercolour)

I’m still battling on with this picture of Magnolia blossom, despite the feeling that it’s gone off the rails a bit. There are still aspects of it that I love, some of the colours, the shape of the main flowers in the centre. However, I think adding branches today has put another nail in the coffin… I’m just not very good at getting branches on trees 😛

There was lots of fiddling, painting on and taking off again, and the edges have got very messy. The general composition doesn’t really work either, it’s pretty obvious I didn’t plan what I was going to do first and therefore the tree doesn’t ‘work’ – it just wouldn’t grow in that shape and therefore it loses believability.

And will I turn it over tomorrow and start again on the other side? Or will I persevere a bit longer. Lwt’s just wait and see 🙂 .

Magnificent Magnolias, Pt. 3

Magnificent Magnolia (Watercolour)

Magnificent Magnolia (Watercolour)

After Friday’s playfully loose warm up I felt brave enough today to try sloshing in a loose background on the original painting I started last week. I knew it would never look as soft as the warm up because the flowers had already been so carefully painted in, but it has certainly changed the look of the piece.

I rather wish I’d used a larger brush as I’m not too happy about the brush strokes you can still see, and there are lots of hard edges, but this is only to be expected when using lots of water as the pigment has plenty of opportunity to migrate to the edges before it dries. Luckily, it’s mostly possible to soften these out later with some clear water and a tissue to dab the colour away.

Anyway, I’m still feeling positive about my progress this time, despite it not being perfect… and I’m still looking forward to where this might go as well as trying it again with a few different tweaks.

Loose Magnolia Warm-Up

Loose Magnolia Warm-up (Watercolour)

Loose Magnolia Warm-up (Watercolour)

Taking my own advice (and that of a multitude of other artists throughout the ages!) I started with a scrap of watercolour paper and some warm up painting today. Very loose, very pretty mixtures of colour… if I remember correctly these are  Quinacridone Magenta, Indanthrene Blue, Burnt Umber, and perhaps a bit of Phthalo Blue as well.

I’m now think the large painting you’ve seen a few stages of needs to be restarted as I just love the effects of the water and the way the colours mix and then separate again on the paper. Following this I did continue to paint the other, but prefer to share this piece to show what a bit of freedom and care less-ness (in the literal sense of the words) can create 🙂 .

 

Magnificent Magnolias, Pt. 2

Magnificent Magnolia (Watercolour)

Magnificent Magnolia (Watercolour)

Oh, what fun you can have painting a subject you like!  I’ve had a very rewarding session today, even though my painting hasn’t been as skilful or as successful as for the first sitting of these beautiful blossoms.

Two reasons come to mind for this:

  1. Warm Ups: I just couldn’t bring myself to ‘waste time’ warming up today, I went straight into lifting heavy weights, as Jean Haines would put it. I consider myself lucky I didn’t do more damage 😛
  2. Masterpieces versus doodling: The first session of this painting was a warm up, I never expected it to work at all, and so today I came back to the piece with “expectations”. Instead of nice flowing experimentation I found myself trying to make every stroke perfect.

One day I might learn from these lessons that I can recite so well… for now I feel I’ve been extremely lucky and didn’t totally screw it up, which constitutes a pretty darn good day in my books 😀 .

P.S. The picture was taken in artificial lighting (I painted into dusk again!) so the colours are as close as I could get.

 

Magnificent Midwinter Magnolia…

Magnificent Magnolia (Watercolour detail)

Magnificent Magnolia (Watercolour detail)

And so, as my English summer trip recedes into memory and Brancaster Beach has been resigned to the growing pile of ‘must revisit’ paintings, my walk with Flint this morning had another purpose… to find a new subject.

Instead I seem to have rediscovered an old one – our neighbourhood is bright with beautiful Magnolias in blossom again. I tried hard to ignore them and find something else, but I find their strong, but everso delicate pink petals fascinating, standing proud and striking whether it’s against bright blue or cloudy grey skies.

I couldn’t wait while I planned and drew preliminary sketches. Last year’s picture, which was so carefully outlined and layered in with individual glazes, would have driven me up the wall today. So in the guise of experimenting with brush strokes and colours I just jumped straight in with a big piece of white paper, Rose Madder, Quinacridone Magenta, Pthalo Blue and a no. 10 Sable brush. I would say there’s lots of potential here for either something spontaneously lovely, or some big lessons in thinking before acting – and hopefully some fun on the way 🙂 .