Thursday, January 18, 2018

A frustrating study on purples for an IRIS....

Never have I yet to have had such a time with a study as I did with this little purple iris! The main problem was trying to find the perfect bluish/purple (and especially to show the light shining through the top petal).... The search for the perfect purple led me on mission that involved color theory books, asking the experts on FaceBook Botanical groups and a lot of mixing and playing with colors...

Deciding I needed to figure out which blues of mine are "warm" and which are "cool",.... I did a color chart so I'll know for the future.  This will be very helpful in mixing purples because I learned the only way to get the really bright brilliant purples I was needing is to mix reds and purples that are close together on the color wheel (perfect example is Ultramarine Blue and Quinacridone Magenta makes the prettiest brightest purples)...
(WARMER blues on the left and COOLER blues on the right)
WARM BLUES: Winsor Blue Red Shade (W+N), Cobalt Blue (Daniel Smith), Cobalt Blue Deep (W+N), Prussian Blue (W+N), French Ultramarine Blue (W+N), Ultramarine Blue (D.S.), Ultramarine Blue Deep (MaimeriBlu), Ultramarine Blue Light (M.B.) and Ultramarine Blue (QOR)
COOL BLUES: Cobalt Turquoise (W+N), Cerulean Blue (M.B.), Cerulean Blue Chromium (D.S.), Cerulean Blue (W+N), small swatch of Cerulean Blue (QOR)  I got after I already started this chart but I wanted to show the cerulean blues all together for comparison, Windsor Blue Green Shade (W+N), Idanthrene Blue (W+N), Manganese Blue Hue (W+N),  Manganese Blue (Holbein), Primary Blue Cyan (M.B.), Phthalo Blue Green Shade (QOR) small swatch for comparison again,  Phthalo Blue Green Shade (D.S.), Ultramarine Blue Green Shade (W+N), Cerulean Blue (QOR), Phthalo Blue Green Shade (QOR), and Cobalt Teal (QOR) which might be more green but I thought it looked blue to me.

This is advice from FaceBook by LEE ANGOLD: "Which colors to mix depends on the vibrancy you are looking to achieve.  Think of colours as a spectrum, and to mix vibrant colours mix those closer together, or further apart if you want muted versions.  So for example to mix a vibrant violet color, you would want to mix a blue that is bright and very close to a violet (such as Ultramarine) with a red/magenta that is very close to a violet (such as Quinacridone Magenta).  To mix a very muted greyed out violet, mix a very greenish blue (such as Cobalt Turquoise) with a very orangey red (such as Cadmium Red Light or Winsor Red).  If you mix a violet-ish red with a very greenish blue, you will get a slightly muted but more cool-toned violet...etc".

...and talking about purples, Jane Blundell (highly, highly recommend every watercolor artist to browse her site) here is some purple swatches she's painted.

Many on the Botanical Artists FaceBook group recommend Michael Cox's book Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green.  I have it and a few other books on color.  This one is wonderful but I only glanced through it.  It'll take some concentration on my part to really get the grasp of this book.

Iris study
I was asked what my color mixes are so here we go, hopefully it's not too confusing!
From top to bottom: Transparent Yellow (W+N) + Winsor Blue Red Shade,  then add that along with Cerulean Blue (D.S.) + Ultramarine Blue (D.S.) in mix two, third from top I just added even more Ultramarine Blue (D.S.) to make the mix darker,  fourth mix is mix number two and I add Ultramarine Violet, fifth mix is a totally separate mix and is Cerulean Blue (D.S.) + Ultramarine Blue Green Shade (I learned the green shade is not as granulating as the regular Ultramarine Blue!) and the last mix is a tad of Quinacridone Opera (Holbein) added
From top to bottom the color mixes are: Winsor Blue Red Shade + Quinacridone Opera (Holbein), 2nd mix is just with more Opera, third mix adds Indigo (Maimeri Blu), fourth mix is Transparent Yellow (W+N) + Cerulean Blue (Daniel Smith) and the last mix is the Transparent Yellow/Cerulean mix with some of the purple mix already on the palette added to "dull" the green down some

Saturday, January 13, 2018


Well, I'm truly aggravated right now!  For two evenings I've been trying to find the perfect purple/blue for an iris I want to do a study on as it opens up!  It's made me realize I need to do more color charts!  I'm write more about this after while but in searching for help on mixing purples I found this great blog.  Lots of information and seems like a cool person!


She had a wonderful tutorial on how to do your own color chart (there are a gazzilion YouTube videos on how to but I like hers and she has a link to download a color chart to get you started...)

And I'll be back......

Friday, January 5, 2018


 This DAHLIA is a beauty!  Drawing all the many petals becomes very zen like.... I think of nothing else other than where each line meets the next and the complete focus it takes to not get lost amongst all those petals!  It's a joy!  And then comes the figuring out the color mixes part... which can take as long as the drawing part of the process.  It's also one of the parts where I tend to learn the most.... and usually when I ask for advice from the experts in Botanical groups on facebook!  Thank goodness everyone is so willing to help....
 This is the last study for 2017.... I felt the year ended on a wonderful note..... I've learned such a great deal this year and have grown with each study.  I hope to continue learning.... and growing..... and enjoying this life!


"Touch-me-not" (Goes to seed and seedlings come up very easily!)
Impatients or "Touch-me-nots" are a garden favorite and one my Granny always had growing.  I remember she asking us not to touch the flowers or better yet the "seedpods".  Of course as soon as she'd turn away we'd sneak a little finger touch on one of the pods and they would 'EXPLODE"!  Seeds going everywhere (anywhere but in her seed packets to save for next year)!   I think payback happened this year as I tried to very carefully collect my own seeds from this HIMILAYAN IMPATIENT that I bought from Annie's Annuals.  I had never heard of it before but was really impressed with it.  It grew up as tall as I am and stunning purple blossoms all over it.  I'm looking forward to painting it as soon as I get the NERVE!  Collecting the seeds was a challenge as they flew all over the deck and down the cracks! 
Himalayan Impatient (hopefully {fingerfs crossed} will reseed easily)

(My first study on the Stonehenge hotpress watercolor paper).... I'm in love very much!

(Loving the way this paper works.  It "lifts" off color very easily.  I've not tried drybrush work yet so I'm scared!)
A big thing happened with this study..... it's the first study I painted on Stonehenge hotpress paper. Like I mentioned on the Columbine post.... I am in love with this paper! 


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