The Breck's garden catalog arrived last week, and I was entranced with it's cover photo of a day lily. The shape of the flower was perfect and the color glorious. Even though I have strong feelings about painting from only my own photographs, I couldn't resist the idea of doing a flower study using Breck's catalog as my source. It is a perfect subject for the exercise I had in mind, and since none of my day lilies are in bloom at this moment (ha, ha!), I decided to go ahead with it. I think you will understand when you see the first photo of today: Breck's catalog cover.
See why I succumbed to temptation?
Before starting my painting, I divided one sheet of paper in half using tape as the divider. While I wanted two papers so I could work on at least two drafts of this painting, that division resulted in tall, thin rectangles for this square photo. At first I thought that it wouldn't matter. Oh, and in addition to wanting to use loose, flowing washes, I wanted to minimize the drawing-before-painting. Here's the first pass:
This wouldn't work. First, the flower has more of an orchid appearance. Second, I really, really, really disliked the color (cobalt violet) I used for the petals. However, I was happy I used so little drawing as you can see in the next close-up photo:
You can just make out the pencil lines around the petals at the top and within the yellow center of the flower. Quite minimal, but I thought I could do less. So . . . in the next pass, I did no drawing, paid more attention to shapes and dimensions, and changed the base color of the petals. You'll see a few other changes also - notably in the background.
Okay, so now it looks more like a hibiscus than a day lily, but remember this is only the first pass. The petals are now permanent rose which is much closer to the bright I want in the lighter parts of the petals. Magenta will come later as will the details.
The second attempt is better than the first, but I am happy with both in that they both show some improvement in my ability to handle water color.