Thursday, 27 September 2012

The Perils of Pondering, (and a new pink)!

Regular readers will know by now that I am something of a ponderer. This is not always a good thing as it can stop me from just getting stuck in. To be honest, I never used to be this bad. Yes, when it comes to the expensive or 'big' decisions in life it is generally a good thing to have a little think about it before taking the plunge, but painting! Come on, it can't be that big a decision, but it would appear it is. The bigger the piece, the harder it is to decide on what to do. 
Looking for inspiration.
Some of the photos taken for the last piece. 

Colour chart for Opera Rose.
Haven't used this particular pink much yet.
Perhaps this time might just give me the opportunity

Luckily I do have some thoughts for this so all is not lost. Would really like to use Opera Rose though. Bright pink lilies would be good along with blues or purples and something lusciously green, Euphorbia maybe.


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Nature Knows what Goes

With no time to rest on the laurels, it's on with the next BIG piece. This time I will need to produce an 'important' traditional mixed study. This sounds a bit more serious than the last one, so no snails and certainly no ladybirds allowed here. 

Sorry, no room for you this time Lucy.
Thinking about what to include brought to mind some really good advice. Not all flowers go together. There is a natural affinity for flowers which have complimentary colours to go together. So, orange and blue will look good, (agapanthus and crocosmia perhaps); violet and yellow, (maybe clematis 'the president' and yellow lilies or iris) and finally, red and green, roses with ivy or any number of foliage choices will go together. It's because these colours are oppostire each other on the colour wheel that they seem to go together so well.
Dahlia 'party' from an earlier assignment.
Yellow 'raspberry ripple' petals offset
by the deep maroon of the stems.

The colour is right but the plant is wrong.
The beautiful violet/purple shades of Clematis 'arabella'
would look fab with Dahlia 'party'.
Clematis is a climbing shrub and Dahlia's are bulbs,
I think I would struggle to make them look good together.  

Nature knows what goes.
Purple and yellow beautifully matched together.

What about shrubs and bulbs then? Well, they don't sit comfortably together apparantly, so something to avoid here would be my earlier idea of Clematis with Crocosmia . Bulb varieties will go together, so any combination of hyacinth, narcissi, tulips, crocosmia and alium will look gorgeous, but alas are out of season now. Shrubs look nice together so any combination of plants like roses, laurel, honeysuckle, clematis and hydrangeas will look good too.   
Ferns are great.
Would love to put one into my composition.

Ah Smoke Bush.
This beauty is a new addition to the garden.
Would love to include it in a supporting role.
Then again, I am trying to get out of the habit
of constantly using Perylene Maroon.

Right then, let's get on with it!

PS. My good online friend and fellow botanical artist Shevaun has just reminded me of another point to consider. Size! Yes, it is important when trying to put together a good composition and different sized blooms look better together than similar sized ones. Variety is the spice of life, so they say. Now, Shevaun is a bloomin' good artist so I would ignore this advice at my peril.  
Thanks Shevaun. x  

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Sammy and Lucy Hit the Road!

Goodness me! Am I glad that my last piece is finally finished and winging it's way to my tutor for marking. This one has been a real epic, and with an irksome delay in the middle, it has taken rather longer than I had hoped. Still, it's done now and I am actually quite pleased with it.
The final bits and bobs on these sorts of paintings always seem to take ages to do. There is always neatening up of edges, fine tuning the veining, adding a bit more depth here and there, the list goes on. The trick is to know when to stop! So here it is, in all it's romantic glory...

Initially, I had wanted to add a few rose hips here and there, but on reflection left them out. This might sound funny, but I didn't want to go overboard!

Hurrah!! Finished at last.
Sammy and Lucy are on their merry way.
Of course with this one done, it's straight on with the next. The next one will be a straightforward, classic mixed arrangement. Classic yes, straightforward. Probably not. Already, thoughts of what to include and what colours go with what, flower shape and size, oh here we go again with those endless lists.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Sammy Snail Gets a New Friend!

Sammy Snail has been something of a hit on FB lately, but he needs a friend. So, I am pleased to announce the addition of, Lucy Ladybird! After completing one of these delightful little creatures on my last piece, I couldn't resist putting a couple of little fellows on this one. Of course, they need names, so Sammy and Lucy it is then. 

Where's Lucy?
Her little spot is reserved.
With the flowers, buds, berries, stems and insects all finished, it's on with the leaves. At this time of the year, Honeysuckle leaves are starting to lose their bright green summer colour, and are beginning to take on an Autumnal, appearance. When I took the photos, some of the leaves were already taking on reddish tones, with the distinctive 'russeting' that gives them character. It's all looking very seasonal.  

The usual cries of, 'so much to do and so little time' come to mind. So, onwards! Lots of green mixes here with the usual suspects of Ultramarine Light, Indanthrene Blue, Winsor Lemon and Perylene Maroon providing the main feature. Also in there for this one will be some Cadmium Yellow and Raw Sienna giving a good supporting role for the leaf edges and imperfections. Oh blimey! Is that the time? Must get back to it...    

Leaves underway.
I am really going to need to get extra time for this one.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

An Inconvenient Truth, (and painting upside down)

Work on the honeysuckle has had to take a bit of a back seat over the last few days due to a rather inconvenient hospital appointment that ended with the inevitable placement on, 'The Waiting List'. Oh goody, that means another 15 week wait and my routine being completely put out!
Just had to get that little fume out of the way. Anyway, to be honest, the honeysuckle isn't actually looking too bad and things are coming together quite nicely. The leaves will be an epic effort as there are loads of them and they are all tangled together. Ah well, once I get my head together, I will get on with it. Must remember my little bugs too.

A rather romantic snail.
Partly done, but you get the idea.
The flowers proved an interesting challenge as I painted them upside down. Not, you understand with me doing a rather energetic handstand on the chair whilst trying to paint, (although that would have made an interesting blog post!). Instead, I had to turn the board around so the flowers were the right way up. Putting an arrow in the corner where the light would be coming from, so I wouldn't forget how it should look, I brought all my flower photos together and got the job done.   
Hmmm, an interesting new approach, but one that
actually works quite well. 

Ahh, that's better. Still no leaves though.
May have to ask Valerie for a bit of extra time.
My obsession with bugs makes me feel that a butterfly,
just in the space under the right hand flower may be just the thing. 

Monday, 10 September 2012

A Taste of Autumn

This weekend really was lovely. Warm sunshine, not a cloud in the sky, the waft of something delicious on the barbeque and, a load of butterflies feeding on the first of the fallen apples! Yes indeed, having not seen a single butterfly this year, they finally came and about half a dozen were seen flitting around, settling on flowers and finding the heady, sweet smell of fallen apples really quite irresistible.   
One of our beautiful little visitors eyes up a tasty meal.
Red Admiral, we salute you.
According to results of the annual survey by Butterfly Conservation that counts butterfly sightings, Britain's very soggy summer has delayed many butterflies from emerging. Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock butterflies have all been a bit late. Can't blame them really, it's been dreadful. In fact, Quelle Surprise! It's raining now!!

Just hanging around.
Perhaps fermenting apples has much the same effect as Cider!



Thursday, 6 September 2012

Pretty in Pink, (and brown, and green)

Now that I am onto the buds and flowers of the Honeysuckle, I am using lots of red and pinky shades. The buds in particular are a rich and luscious colour which has taken me a while to mix correctly. Permanent Rose is not a colour that I have used much up until now, but it has certainly come into it's own, and is now invaluable. As many of you know, I have quite a fondness for the colour Perylene Maroon and I have used it again here. Try as I might, I can't mix a red without it and I will need a lot of red on this one.
Yummy pinks and shadow tones

Boisterous reds, perfect for berries 

The stems are nearly there too. Completing these first gave the overal shape some solidness which really helps to get a feel of it as I work on the rest. Using lots of brown shades for the more woody stems and greens for the immature, fresh growth helps with the textures and different tones of the intertwined element of the composition. Raw Sienna, Ultramarine Light and Indanthrene Blue were the main players for these mixes. A touch of red in the mix gave me more rich tones to play with.

First washes on the buds and opening flowers.
So far so good then, although I still have reservations on how well it will be received. Still, out of all of the assignments I have worked on so far, this one is swiftly becoming my favourite. There is a fun and quirky element to it that I am really finding quite nice to do. Including some garden creepy-crawlies may not be quite tradtional on a wedding or engagement card, but who cares, they look cute!     

Monday, 3 September 2012

Off the Starting Blocks!

A bit late in the day but at last work has got underway on No.11. Quite probably due to nerves, I had dithered for quite a while over the final design for this next piece, and all the time it was right in front of me. A wedding card. It is the hardest one, and I only hope that going with a completely different approach is the right thing to do here. In some ways though, I am desperate to break my 'interesting' label.   
Honeysuckle stems create the overall shape of a heart along with berries, blooms and a froth of leaves. Hidden in amongst this will be some rose buds and hips, (loved doing these on the last one so here they are again), and the inclusion of some little garden insects will help add character. Can't resist a bit of OTT romance..     

Getting the shape right.
Yes it really is a heart you can see there.
Couldn't quite manage a scenery based piece,
and bouquets don't quite do it for me.
You can't quite get the Graphic Designer out of the girl I'm afraid.

Going for full-on romance with this card design doesn't just stretch to the shape, keeping with the theme, honeysuckle means 'devotion' in the language of flowers. Roses of course are the true flower of love, but as mine are showing some beautiful, colourful hips and only one or two late buds, I can include these without crowding the composition. Well that's the idea anyway!   

Intertwined stems, berries and leaves.
Can't help but put in a little snail on this one.
Nothing says romance like a snail! 

Stems meeting to create the distinctive shape.
May add a ladybird in here somewhere.