I am finishing this dahlia closeup watercolor this week. Here are 6 progressive shots of the painting’s progress.
12″w x 13″h watercolor on 300lb Arches paper.I establish the layout with a pencil sketch .
Starting with a background wash of alizaron crimson I begin to apply highlight color washes on the leaves, then progress to the light washes on the flowers.
Various shades of green and gray are applied to the leaves in the background.
The next step is, to bring up the intensity of the colors in the blossoms by applying bright layers.
To complete this piece, there is very little work remaining to be done . The process becomes a back and forth balancing act from here. I apply the darks and shadows. Followed by accentuating the lights until I get the look I want.
I will be sure to share the finished painting in the near future.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
The garden smiles at us with colorful Dahlia blossoms in every conceivable color among many other types of flower. It just warms your soul as you stroll through looking at what needs to be done. You can’t help but touch the soft petals and admire the brilliant hues in each custom little work of art.
It is really inspiring to have cut flowers throughout the house and I feel blessed to be able to have this luxury available. I am thinking of doing a series of what we have blooming in the garden. The colors are so very much alive and refreshing!
I used to think that flower joy was only part of the female section of human kind, but lately I have seen how much my husband enjoys flowers and their magical happy influences. Love of floral beauty has no gender boundaries at all. He is a real green thumb at roses, and orchids and I love both of those types too. Sometimes, we just luck out and get with a partner in life that loves what we love. Sharing our loves is a real deep kind of friendship in life.
Our garden is a large part of my sanity. It is the place I go to do some weeding, watering, and picking. There are absolutely no screens to look at, and no phones to answer.
Free With Nature
I can hear the birds sing, play with dogs and kids, and get real dirty and never worry what people think of me. Anyone who knows me recognizes that is a really natural state for me.
Harvest Begins In Sanity
At the end of the summer coming into fall it becomes a lot more work as more and more produce needs harvesting and processing. My hands get blisters and dried out from all the washing, cleaning, cooking and canning but the quality of the yummy food is well worth it throughout the following winter months. Here are some cucumbers getting ready to be pickles.
Here are the buckets from this morning, tomatoes, dill herb, Dahlia’s, and tomatoes. Any kind of flower blossom brightens my day!
A normal sized zuchini is what I am holding. Honestly, it is how big they get all the time.
Back up at the house, the tomatoes are washed and sorted into ripeness groups. The group on the right is red and ready to eat or can. The group on the left will get to sit in my vegetable baskets by the window to finish ripening. I’ll process them probably the next time I pick.