Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Second Orchid Wrap

And that's it for the orchids!

Learning to paint is such an interesting process. Naturally, one must gain competence with paint, brush, paper, and water. What I now feel is a greater challenge is to see and feel with all the detail that a flower offers. I call it "honest seeing". As a beginner, I can mentally gloss over details that I sense beyond my ability, or I can accept that I'm not working out all that I see--kind of a "I'll wait until I'm better" mentality. I play it both ways, for now.


  1. I'm so impressed. Been away again working and, as ever, the Nuncketest world has evolved across several species in my absence.

    Brought this image up to full magnification on the screen, but I can see that the original paper texture would add something more. But you have captured a very appealing alertness about the bloom overall and some of the detail is luscious: on the topmost pointed petal, the streaky gradation between pink and white is very successful; on the round petal to the left, the subdued, wandering, slightly violet veining is masterly and I think contributes to the velvety texture; the lumpy, streaky swell, reflected light and incipient split on the bud (tricky foreshortening too); and the shading on the curled petal-flesh on the trumpet is so cool, smooth and assured that one can feel the slightly springy cling and pollengrit of inserting a finger.

    I like the studies, too, and I was interested by the 'whole flower' vs 'petal-by-petal' exercise, and by the violet you chose; but here you've weighed in with what looks like much more Permanent Rose in your final colour mix and it pulls it strongly towards 'orchid' and away from 'pansy, violet' -- my mum keeps countless orchids and they do seem to share a preference for that blackcurranty pink in various concentrations.

    What did you mix for the dirty-blue-grey shadowing? It's perfect -- makes the yellow sing, utterly right for the white.

    Whatever sort of brushstroke you were using on the round, lobed petals, it captures their apricot-skin texture. Some of the streaking looks less certain than that; but then in places the streaking has struck an absolutely naturalistic note.

    How would you go about turning a complete study like this into a self-sufficient artwork? It's as if it just needs a shadow or a hint of background to become a final piece. Or, perhaps, nothing more than a mount and frame ...

    Congrats, anyway. What a good course.

  2. Well, hey there, Katharine! :-) Welcome back!

    My petal-by-petal reds used Winsor Violet, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Quinacridone Magenta, and a bit of Winsor Red. I had this wonderful puddle of violet and red variations so I could simply pick here and there. Cool stuff!

    The shadowing was WN Payne's Gray, an interesting mix of PB15, PBk6, and PV19. It has a definite lean towards blue and very good lifting ability.

    What fine prescience with your question on completion! My next exercise calls for adding background to an existing painting. My plan has been to use this painting. I'm not sure and must try a few sketches--I am learning the value of test sketchwork! :-)

    I'm thinking perhaps an Asian motif? Maybe some low saturated and unfocused bamboo? Perhaps graphite?

    Thank you for such a deep and lovely comment. It's almost eerie how closely your words match my experience or provoke me to feel more about my work.