I have a love of the literal and I’ve been working hard on realism because it’s what my brain tells me equals skill or ability (not true! I know, I’m working on it). Working from reference photos or actual items has been a daily pursuit. I wanted to tweak it a little though because sometimes you just don’t have a reference, you’re trying to create a painting of something that couldn’t possibly exist. And with GISHWHES starting to crest the horizon, I need to start limbering up for doing impossible things in short times.

sprayI didn’t go with a single reference on this one, I put together a few different components into one. The royalty-free/free-for-use image of a spray of tulips was the starting point. I wanted to keep it simpler though and ultimately, wanted to use a different type of tulip head. colorreferencesI found a few different options from a gardening catalog just for color reference.

sketchI sketched a few different tulip heads for variety…

AuditioningTulips…and attempted the tissue paper exercise in composition. This was the learning portion as I now love this technique! I did a quick sketch on tissue paper of the vase that I wanted to use (the one that I use when I actually bring real tulips home!) and used that as well. I could not for the life of me or Photoshop get a good picture of the final sketch on hero paper, the pencil lines were just too faint and the light in the room insufficient.

IMG_9315I sketched in the leaves and stems after I got the major pieces placed. I wanted to keep it bright because I was going to keep the background very minimal.

Painting in wet on dry layers like that was really useful for the blend of colors on the petals as painting wet on wet had a tendency to lose the yellow entirely.

I’ve never actually tried painting glass before. It was its own challenge, I had set aside some white gouache to paint the lip over the greenery but, in the end, a little water on a fine brush and some paper towel lifted enough pigment off the page to make the edge. I even like the way that it leaves traces of the green to be seen through the lip!

Now when I have to paint a picture of Misha Collins jousting on a Goliath beetle (or whatever nonsense they have planned for us), I have a shot at making it look good!

(side note: Watercolor Flowers with Sandra Bowers on Skillshare… very useful class!)


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