Showing posts with label botanical painting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label botanical painting. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Carolina Silverbell Tree

Carolina Silverbell (Halesia carolina), watercolor, 18" x 14."

The first post of 2019 is my finished painting of the Carolina Silverbell Tree (Halesia carolina). The painting was actually finished in early fall of last year, when the seed pods began to ripen. It was then that I was able to finally finish painting the last pod on the lower left, but I was busy with so many other things that I had forgotten to post it. The painting now shows the complete sequence from the flowers and emerging leaves of early spring, through the development and final ripening of the seed pods in the fall.

I'm hoping that a few of the seeds will turn out to be viable and germinate this coming spring. It would be wonderful to have a few seedlings of this lovely and unusual native tree to share with family and friends. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Working on a New Painting

Rhododendron maximum

 A couple of weeks ago I started on a painting of the native Rosebay Rhododendron (Rhododendron maximum) flowers that I'd planned for some time. This tree-sized Rhododendron flowers late in the year, from mid-June to as late as July, depending on the location and exposure. The photo above is my specimen, and it was taken during a trip to Mountain Lake Biological Station a few years back. I had been saving this image, with a few other supplementary ones, until I had some time to develop a painting.

I "edit" my photos whenever possible so that the composition is already close to what I want--in this case, a branch with two lovely flower clusters. The problem here was that there was another branch crossing  the focal one, which had to be "edited" out in the drawing. After the usual steps of drawing and transferring the line drawing to the watercolor paper, I was ready to start laying in some color.

Step 1

I began with some pale washes of lavender on the central cluster to articulate the form of the flowers, and after that was dry, put in the touches of pink. The buds of this plant are tinted a beautiful, pure pink at the tip, which fade to a pale pink, or even white, after the flowers open. After the flowers were dry, I added the characteristic dots on the petals, and the darks of the bud scales behind, to define the outlines of the petals.

Step 2

Then I repeated the same process with the second flower cluster. This one shows more of the unopened bud covered with their orangey scales. Once this was done, it was time to start on the leaves. The leaves of this Rhododendron have a dull shine, but they still have some blue reflections from the sky. I started with a wash of light blue and a bit of yellow-green for the main vein and let it dry. Rewetting  one half of the leaf, I then began to fill in the leaf with dark green, lifting portions of the wash to suggest the shape and the veins.

Step 3

The leaf  was not very successful, so I re-wet it and lifted more color for better balance. After it dried again, I added touches of deeper green here and there to bring out the veins. This process was repeated for each leaf except the one on the right, where the underside of the leaf shows--the color of the underside is yellower and has no shine.

Step 4

Step 5

After the leaves were complete, and the woody stem, the flowers appeared too pale in comparison, and my composition seemed to have a "hole" at the top of the focal cluster. I added two unopened buds for a bit more interest, but the flowers still need something more to punch them up. I'm in the process of using colored pencils on the flowers (light gray and sepia) to try to define and bring out the edges more. I'll post the finished piece soon.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

African Violet Painting

Pink African Violet, watercolor, 8" x 10."
This was my classwork from the Painting 205 class week before last. I was surprised to see how quickly it took shape following the methods I'm being taught, and how nice the results. It needs a few more touches to be completely finished. I'll be submitting this piece and one more from class to Brookside Gardens' upcoming Botanica exhibition to see if the jury accepts it.