Yellow Rose Watercolor Steps

yellow rose 07
Doing a rose watercolor involves many steps. Most of the time I can describe my steps simply as washes-on-top-of, washes-on-top-of, washes and so forth. I tend to pile up layers and layers of wash until I like what I see.

Do you know the meaning of the yellow rose?

yellow rose watercolor 08

I began with this yellow rose layout in a sketch. I put a real light wash in the body of the flower bloom first. Being carefully light with the paint I add the long stem and it’s leaves, along with the little bud peeking out on the left side. I am encouraged.

Changed Backgrounds

Lately, I have noticed that I have a habit of painting backgrounds with tons of detail going to the very edge of the paper. To change things up, I will work on getting a dramatic background without walking in those footsteps this time. The biggest realization I have is that this is not going to be good without some serious background to help it pop out. The challenge will be to make an appropriate background that pops but doesn’t take over the main image.

Rose Watercolors

A light yellow rose watercolor can very easily fade into a white background and become a ghost. The background is my beginning to remedying that. With violet wash as a background I add a mixture of Crimson with it on wet areas to the edges of my main character. A good change, don’t you think? 

Dropping vermillion or cadmium reds into these areas give a little more zing as it bleeds into the background violet and crimson.yellow rose 09yellow rose 12

Examining the watercolor rose procedure pictures I’ve taken makes another step that I take real apparent. The picture that I took of the blossom is the reference for the rose watercolor.

Never hesitate to get your old fashioned gear out. Improve by using “photography technique” along with that “real camera” (not a smart phone). Nothing, takes the place of good reference material. If you are trying to improve and learn about where the light hits and shadows extends to, use a well lit photograph. There are millions of amateur photographers out there flooding FaceBook and the image banks with junk, but very few “real skilled photographers” capturing memorable shots with enlightened essence anymore.

Dryly Enlightening

At this point we are looking at the dry version of this watercolor painting. Take note of the differences between the last two images and you will see a noticeable amount of fading occurs as the paints dry. While looking at a wet painting, there are many times that I am tempted to dab a bit of the pigment out of it because it seems so very bright when wet. If I can resist that urge, I am usually a lot happier with the result because the paints do fade so very much by the time they are dry.

yellow rose watercolor 13

Sketch a Rose

sketch yellow rose

Sketching First

The sketch is the first step in any painting project for me. My photograph is cropped in real close to show only the petals on the yellow rose of friendship bloom. The way the light changes the yellow into gold is magnetic. However, it really doesn’t speak to me so I end up adding a long stem and another bud on the left to give your eyes a place to journey. I’m beginning to see some action in the layout with the addition of the foliage and bud, and am ready to proceed now.

 

Yellow Rose 2With this beautiful yellow rose sketch I carefully recreated the petals from the photograph, and then lay it out on the table right next to where I begin to paint. I also have the actual flower in front of me as I begin to paint so I can get the colors right but the first part is usually dark areas taken from the dark values in the B&W print. My goal is to get the soft light to yellow fading (wet on wet) on each petal surface first and then add in shadow.

Reference Setup

 

Yellow Rose 1I am not going to use resist or mastic to reserve the whites, and instead be careful to reserve these light areas of paper. These first three images show the desk setup with the reference materials, paint pallet with brushes. Working on the first three petals establishes which colors seem to work best. After wetting the petal area, I fill my brush with Aureolin Yellow and drag along the darker edge to the center leaving a puddle of color at the center, this one lets other colors wash over it. Using a darker orange yellow named, New Gamboge, to drop in color where more brilliance in the yellow is desired.Yellow Rose 3

Plumerias

Plumerias come to life

After getting the plumerias color and shapes defined it becomes obvious that the white background is not going to work. The flowers are fading off into their background. I don’t want a completely solid background to the edges so I experiment as I go, applying very light washes of Sap Green first then Veridian or Thalo Green in spots.

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plumeria blossoms 01

Adding various sized drops of Hookers Green to keep it interesting, aiming for shadow behind the flower.

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plumeria blossoms 02

As more area is filled with the greens in the background the petals of the plumeria begin to stand out and shine.

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plumeria blossoms 05

Now I begin adding some Royal Blue shadows along with Ultramarine Blue, and purples. Some depth is showing where one blossom overlaps another. These transparent washes really bring out real looking shadows.

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plumeria blossoms 06

Note the difference when a shadow is added, where the red blossom overlaps the pink/orange blossom behind and where the white petal overlaps also.

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plumeria blossoms 06

Darkening places in the surroundings at the petal edges accentuate the backgrounds depth.

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plumeria blossoms 08

Done, it is confusing which way it should be hung, so I am happy that I don’t have to decide. Flattening the paper out overnight by wetting on the back side and laying face down with a heavy board overnight and allowing it to dry. Then packing to send off in the mail. Hoping that it arrives on time for Jeanie Hollands Birthday! Love You Jeannie!

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plumeria blossoms 09

More posts like this are under the “Watercolor” category.

Plumeria Watercolor in Process

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Plumeria White & Yellow 02

This watercolor in process recreates how the flowers look when they are rinsed and spread across a kitchen table, while stringing leis.

Notice the yellow centered white plumerias have a brilliant center fading out to white edges and tip. To accomplish this I wet the entire petal area so I can do a wet-on-wet process with the paint. Fill a brush with Aurolean yellow. Begin applying by pulling from the tip on the outside edge of the petal to the interior in the center and lifting the brush. This leaves a wonderful puddle of light yellow bleeding out evenly and gradually to the outer edges of the petal. Do the other side of the petal.

The next shade is New Gambouge, which is a kind of orangish yellow. Same brush loaded with color, then pulling from about 3/4 or 1/2 of the petal length to the inside and lifting again at the center to produce that darker orange tint in the center. Do both sides of petal. In the image below, you can see how the New Gambouge further defines the radiance of that center area and push it into the distance.

Darkening the Center

Plumeria White Yellow 03

Apply using light touch with a smaller brush of Daniel Smith Quinacridone Gold or an orange brown to your liking, to emphasize edges and the center even more. I notice a darker shadow right under the edges of where the petal folds up on the sides remaining white. This underneath surface of the petal is where I apply the darker color sparingly.

Shadows

Finally, with same small brush I drop a little pool drop of Dioxazine Purple right in the middle where you would insert your needle to string a lei. Purples are a perfect “shadow maker” for yellows. The wet surface lets the purple bleed naturally out into the petal making an incredibly believable shadow and depth.  I also use this same purple in very light washes to create drop shadows where the flowers overlap each other, edge outlines and stems peek out from behind.

Reds and Pinks

PlumeriaRedPink
Plumeria red & pink

The same steps are taken with the red plumeria sing the wet-on-wet process. Using a light wash of Alizarin Crimson, adding Purple Lake, touching with Vermillion then more Alizarin Crimson in the middle. Last is that drop of Dioxazine Purple in the center. For the pink the same steps but what I noticed is that there is almost a stripe effect with the different colors on each petal. I start with an Alizarin Chrimson, adding Vermillion, adding Pyrrol Orange, then Cadmium Yellow Pale in stripes that I let bleed into each other. Again, the last is that drop of Dioxazine Purple in the center.

More posts like these are under the category of “Watercolor”

PLUMERIA memories

Painting PLUMERIA memories can be accomplished if you have enough memories stored away to work from in your mind. Lately, I’ve been doing watercolor paintings of flowers that I used to make lei’s of where I grew up in Kaneohe (Kahalu’u), Hawaii. It is funny cause I start from looking at various photographs from the client and before I know it, I am just painting the colors and textures that I remember. I can almost see and smell a flower in my hands and these memories seem to guide my brush.

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plumeria white and yellow

Right after I finished my client’s piece, I started on my own plumeria memories for a favorite family member’s birthday coming up. She and I made many lei’s together. Starting with multiple sketches of flowers until I arrive at an arrangement that suits me.

plumeria sketch JH
plumeria sketch
plumeriaWhiteYlw
pink plumeria blossoms

The plumeria tree has big pointed dark green leaves, and produces a thick stem that branches out to multiple pods, creating a bunch of blossoms. The plumeria is a 5 petal flower with pointed ends spreading out in an equal circular fashion. It has a sturdy tube constructed from it’s petals-creating an easy to string tube stem that begins as a cone shape coming down from the blossom consolidating into a smaller diameter to where it anchors onto the tree. While picking, you have to take care to keep the milky sap off of yourself. It really is poisonous but honestly, I have never known anyone stupid (lo lo) enough to eat that yucky tasting stuff. I remember doing the “wash your hands” thing right after picking or lei making cause it was so sticky and tasted quite vile (pilau) if you ate something and licked your fingers.

Youth FULL OF Lei Making

In elementary school the designs were fun and simple, but in high school serious designs were done to enter the May Day Lei Making contest at the state capitol. Lei making is truly an art and many Hawaiians excell at creating gorgeous and fragrant creations that are a joy to see and wear. My favorite lei is still the puakinikini for it’s wonderful sweet fragrance, it is almost a magical entrancing aroma.

Back Home

We had large plumeria trees lining the dirt road in the front of our house and people used to come and knock on our door to ask permission to pick. Those trees provided the whole neighborhood with an abundance of blooming treasures to create with and me with a lifetime of painting plumerias from memory.

There was a great big one that had thick white petals with bright yellow centers and a truly heavenly perfume and the thick petals allowed it to last the longest in a lei. Right next to it was a established old tree with blossoms that had a more slender and thinner type of petal with brilliant pinks and the yellow center, it had not so sweet or heavy of a fragrance and didn’t last quite as long.

The only color missing was the dark red, at our house so I got a branch from a friend to plant in the back yard. With careful planting, watering and care, it took off and grew into a beautiful tree right in the guava orchard in the back yard. It took a couple of years before it was big enough to supply “a grocery sack-full” of flowers to work with, but even with little amounts of the dark reds some really interesting patterns and designs in our lei making came from them.

More posts like this are under the category of “Watercolors“.

Dahlia Watercolor progress

Step By Step Progress

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dahlia watercolor progress

This dahlia watercolor progress is slow as I experiment with getting the bright colors and shading right. It has been a while since I painted flowers, even though they are one of my favorite things in life. Isn’t it funny that we get distracted from what we love with our work in life? This paining seems to be more of a study of the light and casted shadow on the various petal surfaces. It is truly amazing how many surfaces there are on a single blossom. I love the play of light and how it makes something seem so 3D whenever I get it right.

Pink, my kingdom for a pink

It is surprising that the most difficult areas so far have been getting the right pinks to appear. It requires that I actually get the right amount of water to dilute the paint with the main one being used as Alzarian Crimson, or Scarlet Lake, the darks are better with the violet or purple ranges  added. My daughter shares my interest in flowers, she has a site named www.dahliasinbloom.net, a place worth checking out.

Dahlias and Marigolds
Dahlias and Marigolds

You can see why I feel so inspired by blossoms, each day as I walk through our garden, I not only see vegetables and fruits. Luckily, there are many blossoms to pause and smell as I do my daily chores.

Time out

At this point, I am not sure if I am liking the way this watercolor is coming out so I may put it on the shelf to rest while I get back to my real work. When you paint for work sometimes your personal paintings have to wait till there is time again. The most important thing to me is to not make a big stack of unfinished art in my shelf, so I keep working on my un-done stack every week to keep it real small. A uncluttered studio is a happy studio.

Dahlia Painting Outside

Here is my table today

This afternoons shot is of a Dahlia painting, what better way is there to show a progress painting and the love of every artist?  I love to paint anything in the light outdoors, there is no better way to spend an afternoon.

Dahlia painting outside
painting a Dahlia outside

We have a 20 x 20 deck on our house, that many people told us we were wasting too much space on, but I absolutely love it. During the warm months, I spend as much time as possible sitting out there painting and drawing because I find the sound of the wind calming, just like John Travolta in the movie called, “Phenomenon“. The birds and chipmunks and squirrels are truly entertaining.

Gazing down from our deck I can also look down over my domain anytime, now that we have cleared the patch of trees that shaded the garden too much.  I look out over our property and wonder at the sky that is so pretty, now that the smoke has cleared and I so appreciate all the warm sunshine. The sky changes colors magnificently in the evening, making it almost impossible to capture unless you are able to paint lickety-split FAST!

Dahlia Painting

Having a bouquet of cut flowers right here makes it so much easier for me to see their beauty right, I hope to be able to get what I see down on the paper and do them justice.

I made myself a promise

I would do at least one image a week that I want to do, actually, paint what I feel drawn to create. Recent health issues have made me realize that time is not a guarantee, and I had better enjoy all the time I have left before I exit the scene. This week, all the blossoms in the garden are drawing me in close, to smell, touch and admire all of their brilliant colors. What fabulously bright creations they are!

Plein Air Painting Elk, WA

SWS Plein Air Painting

Saturday July 21st, 2018

We had an artist “fun time” at our house. Above is the invitation that I handed out at the Spokane Watercolor Society Meeting a couple of months ago. I created a Facebook event for it and sent it to all the Watercolor Society Members emails. I also sent it to my friends on Facebook right before the weekend.

Out of all the invitations sent 4 wonderful artist’s showed up. What a great day, except for the bees. Wow there is sure a lot of them here this year. Aaaargh.

Who was there?

In the morning there was my neighbor Rose Coston with her 2-year-old daughter Allie. We painted on the kitchen table while Allie painted some pictures of her own, then she played with legos and log homes. Rose hasn’t painted in a long time but she was ready to try her hand at it and was surprised at the way watercolors work, she is a great person to paint beside.

SWS Member Sherrie Thies, arrived ready to paint, just as Rose and Allie were preparing to leave. Sherrie and I were able to get to know each other some before we decided to go walk through the garden and check out what we would like to paint. Sherrie is a high school art teacher and I bet her students just love her. I found out that I judged one of her student’s shows at ESD101 a few years back and we were able to share some changes we thought should be done in judging that venue. Wow, we really have great people in the group.

While we were checking things out in the garden, Allison Kromer Hsu, who is a longtime family friend arrived along with SWS member Kelly Burk. We went back up the hill and settled on the deck for a bit and decided to go ahead and eat our potluck, good cooks, Yay! Then back out on the deck we watched hummingbirds and began to setup and paint and visit.

What did we do?

Sherri got some great photographs with her phone of the hummingbirds and painted multiple images that looked great but I did not think to photograph them before she left. Am  hoping she will post them here for us to see. I’d like to paint the one I looked at closely.

Allison was working on a painting she had already started which was a seascape with shoreline foliage, she was interested in seeing the SWS member’s entries into our show coming up and said she’d like to attend one of our meetings. Allison, you can post your painting here too, if you would like.

Kelly did multiple paintings and sketches, please feel free to post your images here. Kelly did one watercolor pet portrait that she gave to me, and I just love it. It is of our dog named Max, he is a half Swiss Mountain dog (Swiss 3 color Rottweiller), half Pitbull 1-1/2 yr old puppy. What a great portrait and so fast. Thank you!

Max Woelk by Kelly Burk

I started a watercolor of hummingbirds in flight in the trees. Here  it is now but it is still in progress.

Hum Birds in Trees progress

Our Plein Air day was great!

I am so happy to have been able to spend some time really getting to know these artist friends. I realize I should have reminded everyone more often and maybe put a stricter time to start and end but still I’d love to do more of this painting with fellow artist this summer! It is really a great way to inspire true creativity and to spend time with others who love to paint as much as I do.

 

Don’t be Koi… #7 finished

Don’t Play Koi With Me

11”w x 11”h watercolor on 140lb WC paper

The final part of the water kingdom is done on her left side bringing the darker blues continuous behind her with a quick absence bleed of color at her back tail fin. This is how I give an impression of movement in the water there. The final touch I feel drawn to do is some darker splatters throughout the water for bubble impressions. I am pleased with her bright moving attitude! C’est fini!

Don’t be Koi… #6

#06

Don’t Play Koi With Me

11”w x 11”h watercolor on 140lb WC paper

The underwater world keeps going as I proceed on her right side adding cobalt blue, Prussian blue, ultramarine along with violet. The trick for me is to not do too much. I don’t want it to be a solid background, instead wanting to see variance and depth. the other side of that is that I don’t want the water to compete with the main subject of the sassy koi. Hoping to get not too much and not too little. Slowly and carefully I proceed.