Thursday, November 30, 2017


I don't know what I was waiting on to post about this.... the vibrant purples in this flower and the little "horn" looking areas just blew me away.  Never would I have ever truly seen those parts of the blossom if I hadn't been studying it to draw it.  It's amazing what (at least I haven't) noticed about the intricacies of flowers ... I see the "whole" flower and think "aw, that's pretty".  But now that I paint them, I truly SEE them and all the little special bits and think, "damn, that's incredible"!
Last November, Anna Mason chose my study for the "Painting of the Month"... I couldn't believe it!  Her classes are magical and she is such an inspiration being self-taught.  And now she's teaching thousands of budding artists that they have it inside them to paint beautifully.  I highly recommend taking her classes and the artists are so encouraging and it's a wonderfully positive atmosphere in the chat areas.    Go there, learn and grow! Anna Mason

The little "horn" bits I mentioned....

(from Anna Mason's Instagram post.... I was sooooo excited!)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Red Cardnial Flower

The Cardinal Flower is probably one of the "reddest flowers I've come across.  I found it while fishing along our little streams in Virginia.  This year I found a place where they were ALL over the banks!!!! They like "boggy" areas which means it likes it's roots in the mud.  I've come back from fishing with not a fish one but an arm load of these and a blue variety (and anything else that looks like it might develop a bloom on it!).

"Fishing" it out of the icky mud proved to be the easiest part of this venture...  Drawing the intricate little petals was quite enjoyable... but then came the two day process of figuring out which reds to use to recreate those "candy apple red" blossoms.  After trying EVERY red I own, I went to Facebook to ask for advice from the experts.  

Here's my reds: (photos have to be reloaded)

I first lay down a wash of lemon yellow in the "warmer" areas  and some Manganese Blue for the "cooler" areas.  One big suggestion given by the botanical artist in the Facebook group was to lay a wash of bright yellow under what will be the red blooms.  It will give a warm "glow" when parts are allowed to show through and will brighten the reds when layed down. 

 Now, I have mostly a layer of red all over....For the top (unopened petals) I used Quin. Red because they looked a little more "pinkish" than the bottom brighter petals.  Then I added a mix of Permanent Rose plus Antrhraquinoid Red (Daniel Smith) over the back petals.  Those didn't have the yellow wash because they were towards the back and "cooler" than those petals towards the front.  You can tell they don't have that "glow" as the ones with the yellow wash.  A good lesson learned.

I ended up using Scarlet Lake plus Permanent Rose and Permanent Red (Daniel Smith) plus Permanent Rose all varying the individual hues in each mix to fix my needs....Permanent Red (Daniel Smith) is one of the paints I bought just to try for this study. It's a GORGEOUS color! So bright (probably the brightest red I found) and very strong! A little goes a LONG way!

 And here it is after many layers, It was suggested to not use many grays for the shading, instead to use a "bluer/cooler" red... I added Alizarin Crimson to the red mixes for shading and it worked well.  But, I also ended up adding in "Botanical Gray" (Ultramarine Blue plus Light Red) mixed in with the red mixes for some shading... just couldn't help myself.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Salvia Study....

I was so excited to paint this beautiful Salvia I bought this year for the garden. There was this purple, a pinkish, a coral and a white.  Usually I find the bright red ones but for some reason these colors just made me fall in love with this plant I normally look over.  I love the petals and how they are nestled inside the bracts.  The fine "crinkles", deeps and valleys drew me in and I was ready!  I drew the intricate drawing in one of my  Stillman and Burn journals (which I love).... 

This is the time I realized my iPhone and iPad have TOTALLY different ideas of what colors a plant should be! Drawing by the larger iPad makes my eyes happier.  I mixed colors and began painting... then the next day I started painting by my iPhone since the iPad was dead.  I was SHOCKED by how different the screens show colors.  It was terrible!  The phone is so much brighter and brilliant colors.  The iPad so dull and boring almost.   That was frustrating but I kept on and figured I could put brighter colors over the duller purples already painted.  I still couldn't figure out the "crinkles", valleys and dips..... Which is the most difficult for me to recreate and what I most desperately want to achieve.....

 So, needless to say, I've aborted mission on this Salvia for now.... and hope one day soon to repaint it and see my progress in a "before and after" project.  Yet, I'm still figuring out the crinkles.... This was painted back in the spring and I feel I've grown more with my painting but I decided to show this anyway..... I'll find a  photo of the plant to show all those problematic crinkles!


I was looking forward to painting this zinnia because of all the different pink hues and especially the brown faded splotches!  I figured...