The purple Cosmos was a vivid beauty in our garden this year. Inspiring this artist to try out her wings with a new subject. Here is a completed watercolor study of a single purple blossom.
Via “Wikipedia“, Cosmos is defined as the world or universe, regarded as orderly, harmonious… quoted from my print version of the Webster’s Universal College Dictionary in the studio. Yes, I still use printed books to look things up because the old references often cover subjects more fully. In my printed version there is an additional definition #4 that is relevant to what I am sharing today.
4. Any of a genus, Cosmos, of New World composite plants having open clusters of flowers with red or yellow disks and wide rays of white, pink or purple.
BTW, I only have the purple cosmos, anyone want to trade purple seed for white and pink? I have a lot of seed, because I save them after harvest and use them the following year. Let me know if you’d like to barter.
This is a study of the Cosmos flower up close. I do studies before I do any larger paintings. Using an Arches paper scrap that is much smaller than I usually paint on, I practice and see how to paint something new. This is not the first time I have been inspired by this beautiful blossom, check this embroidered Cosmos tablecloth out. It was a fun project that took over a year to finish embroidering by hand.
Beginning with negative painting I put the background in, then warm it up with a wash of Azo Yellow. I then put in the yellow center and add shadows. Followed by, working my way out to the petal edges adding light and shadow.
The first bright purple blossoms peek their heads out for me, as crocus planted last year along the driveway come up. All that work from the previous year rewards us with spring flowers, that I love. They are such welcome splashes of color after a period of cool grays. Pete and I took some pictures to allow me to come back in to the studio and paint them, instead of getting frosty outside. After all, the temperatures are not balmy yet.
I look up the name crocus and find that they are a part of the iris family. Really? Who would have thought that? Thank goodness for the ease of using Wikipedia, soon I will forget how to turn the pages of a dictionary.
Here is a deep artistic concept, check out these two photographs. They are a perfect example showing how a different “depth-of-field” or “focus” totally changes an image. It almost seems as though these two pictures were taken at different places, but they were not. Only the focal point changed. Clearly, where we choose to focus our attention is really important. Think about that all throughout your life.
Where do you focus your attention?
The fleeting beauty of the crocus in early spring is a short term glance at the wonder of nature. Finding that crocus is part of the iris family kind of explains why I was drawn to them in the store last year. Since the first time I saw them, iris have been a favorite of mine. Their sturdiness, prolific qualities, combined with their limitless supply of color and combinations never cease to amaze me. If they are one of those bright flowers that give a wonderful perfume, that is even better.
I will do plein air sketches from the blossoms and post them with pictures as things progress, in the next few days. In fact, my focus artistically is leaning heavy to plein air….. I confess.
Just finished painting the flowers in Dahlia Patch C142019 watercolor. I am loving it and planning to paint more like her. I saved seeds from my 6-8′ blossoms last year and plant to well populate the garden with them again. So bright and beautiful to see when you work in the garden every day. Weeding and watering seem less tiresome when your eyes feast on beautiful combinations of color and fascinating insects and birds cruising around. There is only a few more weeks of skiing left, and I’m looking forward to spring and summer now.
Check out how many kinds of Dahlia’s there are, 42 species and it is native to Mexico. Did you know it was declared the national flower of Mexico in 1963? Good old Wikipedia dahlia knowledge, interesting but hard to remember the scientific names sometimes.
What do you think of dahlia patch?
It took some time to get the details all in. It was funny but as I added details, I’d notice another missing detail in an area I thought I had already finished. Add a shadow here, oooh a highlight there and a half a leaf here. That petal looks weird, it needs a shadow under it too. You can see the progress in one day by looking back at yesterdays article about this painting.
Round and round she goes,
where she stops nobody knows!
Another unfinished is now in the finished pile and it feels great. At the meeting (Spokane Watercolor Society) the other night a fellow artist shared that she was going to either finish or throw away the paintings in her studio. Boing!!! That hit me square in the face. I have so many unfinished paintings laying around my studio, so I plan on making an effort to do that. No more unfinished stacks in my life.
I was fortunate to have beautiful flowers blooming all summer in my garden this past year. I grabbed this painting from my “unfinished painting stack” tonight. This is not the first time to paint this Dahlia image. My previous attempt became all overworked and mucky, actually loosing itself in the background, until I simply gave it up to turn the paper over, and try it again. See previous posts about my first attempt here.
I wonder how many two sided paintings have I sold in my life?
Doing bright colored flowers of any variety is so cool. This painting has a new type of background technique that is different and a little scary for me. Trying for a looser and softer background. One that will let us see the petals of the flowers without distraction. Blossoms with petals and all their curves, shadows… I am beginning to really like this one now.
Let me know what you think, so far.
This week was full of stressful work like taxes, paperwork and illustration assignments. But, today was a great relaxing break to just paint. I worked on completing my painting for the Spokane Watercolor Society Member Show. It feels good to paint things that I like all day.
A golden hybrid tea rose that we planted as a bare root one year ago, offered its first yellow rose blossom today and it is a true beauty. There is a slight fragrance from it’s petals and it is opening in a most graceful form. Though these floral beauties have an abundance of thorns, they are still a favored flowers for many gardeners. There is just an overpowering attraction to the fragrance that they fill the air with along with their soft fluffy petals.
My husband and I both love roses and gardening. The first date we had, I saw his rose garden. His green thumb showed beautifully with a dark red rose bush covering the whole corner of his garden right at the sidewalk that you walked into his house. This rose looked so happy and full of fragrant blossoms I immediately knew he was a man to take a really close look at, a keeper.
Many years have passed since we first met, and we have both built a large garden now in the wilderness of Elk WA, a beautiful mountainous area in the rural areas of northern Spokane. We do not have an unlimited budget so the planting of beautiful flowers has taken longer than the staples like vegetables, berries, fruit, and spices, one thing at a time.
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.
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.
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.