Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bringing It Back

I felt a bit of regret after blasting this painting into darkness, but although I did like the delicate look I still wanted to push the tonal range. This evening I'm working on bringing it back and I'm starting to get comfortable with this new look.

Today I signed up for a botanical art course! The Friends of Horticulture on the Wellesley College campus hosts a whole botanical certificate program as well as a bunch of fascinating workshops. Read all about the curriculum here.

I'll be taking this entry level course:
Foundations of Botanical Drawing and Painting

Learn the basics of botanical art with our lead instructor and Education Director, Sarah Roche. Under her guidance, realistically render botanical forms in pencil and watercolor. Through demonstrations and tutorials Sarah will introduce you to the traditional art and science of botanical drawing and painting. Instructional focus includes observational skills, drawing, composition, design, and watercolor techniques.
My interest in art came about through botanical. These days I am not sure where I am going or even which media I  might settle on. Yep, I'm confused. I figure that I will simply explore everything I want and see where this all leads me. I'd like to feel that I have solid direction but it's just not there at this time.

But in the meantime, I am so lucky to be studying with Sarah Roche. Check out her website here. And also very lucky to be tied with NESBA and their incredible talent--I'm humbled and motivated.

And speaking of exploration, more on Munsell soon! :-)


  1. I am thrilled for you re: your upcoming course- what a wonderful resource to have so close by. I don't know how you were able to limit yourself to only one course though- I was intrigued by almost all of their offerings when I read through the list.
    I am loving your crabapples; I will admit I took a deep breath yesterday when I saw how dark you went- I had to just trust that you were headed in the right direction and today, I am happy to see that you have triumphed beautifully!
    Exploration is good, whether it is through different mediums, subject matter or just pushing the lights and darks of the piece you are currently working on. Exploration leads to growth and the excitement of new possibilities; onward!!
    ~ gretchen

  2. After going that dark I wished I had an "undo" button! What happened is that I thought I'd work toward a complementary color background even though I was draw to the warmth of the ochre. I'd considered pushing into darks while staying in the reds. But alas, my thoughts on theory won out. Feeling vs. theory. Interesting to consider...

    So, it's a good exercise and I'd like to redo the piece with a slightly different composition, a leaf or two, and stick with a warmer background. I'm off to gather fresh pictures around the lake.

  3. feelings vs theory? I go by gut instinct and a well developed eye.your eye can only sharpen through painting and observation i think .so it seems like a happy marriage of taste, theory, aesthetic sense and application rules.staying focused our the goal is the hard part with all these interesting distractions. i like the crab apples and i'm reserving opinion on the background. i know what i would do with it but i'm curious to see how you work your nice touch with the apples thoughA+++++. dorothy

  4. Ah well, I'm an old young explorer. ;-) I will get back to it some time; it's behind the easel for now although your comments have piqued my interest.

  5. yes...its all learning-nothing wasted. i just think it is hard when you go in so dark to enliven it. sometime going darker still- almost black[ultramarine and umber]can be a brilliant save.especially with the red apples in the forefront a rich earth black or blue black could elevate this piece to a new level.visualize it finished with a gold leaf frame-black could be your can disregard my opinion if you want to fool around with the green some more. its all good. make it work because the crabapples look great so far.your bossy friend-dorothy

  6. Holy #@$%@!!! That's a brilliant save! I'd been thinking of blasting in a light opaque to pull it back but going even darker sounds awesome. You know, I was even thinking that I'd probably just scrape it and use it for a test board. Now it's worth good throw.

    Bossy? No way! This is great stuff! :-) I have a bit more on the poison ivy tonight and then I'll start in with the background. This is exciting! :-)

  7. tee hee- you're funny...give it a whirl with the dark...mix your own,tho.remember the piece is about the crabapples, not the background. the viewer will only focus on the crabapples if you succeed with the background. think crabapples and the light.then work on the crabapples some more. the sliver of green on the right side of both crabapples are looking very similar-too similar. change them up a bit-minor tweaking.i'm really cracking my whip now!!!dor

  8. Yes, ma'am. (As he cowers in the corner...) ;-)

  9. Dorothy, it's already looking awesome! After a few layers, I went in heavier with a dark burnt umber. I'm going to let it set up for a day or so and then glaze with ultramarine blue. Ya, gold leaf frame...