Friday, April 13, 2018

Yellow, Mud and the Daffodil

My goal this week was to do 10 minute sketches every day of daffodils. They are here today and gone tomorrow so you have to be fast!
I didn’t do a painting every day, but I did do a couple. I consider a flower painting successful if they have a fresh feel and if they have something to say. I want to feel something when I look at it, so I try to identify what it is the flower is saying to me. (Yes, I really do...laugh if you must, but part of your artistic voice comes from listening to your subject!) Here are some of the results of my little experiment.

Some notes. First: Ten minutes only allows you to paint wet in wet. There is no time to wait for your paint to dry and go back in. This is a great exercise to help you loosen up and learn to work with the paint instead of controlling it. Second: Yellow is a hard color. Because it’s the lightest color on the color wheel you would think adding value would be easy. Well, it ain’t. You can end up with really muddy paintings if your not careful because it is the lightest color on the wheel. Daffodils are yellow. They also have a trumpet shape in the middle. I find them one of the most frustrating flowers to paint. Mostly because they are yellow. Did I mention that? And third: we don't add white to lighten a color, we use the paper for that, and since yellow is already so light you have to get creative when you are trying to add value to it or you quickly end up with mud. Did I mention mud?

The easiest way to add value (tone) to yellow is to use the color wheel method. The color wheel method uses the colors next to it (orange or red, green or blue) to make a darker value. That’s how I painted this little guy. 

This quick 10 minute no draw sketch using the color wheel method works but it’s not really what the daffodil looked like. Yet you get the general idea. It can work really well used carefully and will give you color rich paintings. (I have some other examples of the color wheel method-just use the search bar on the side of the blog to find them) I think this little painting say’s spring!!

This next image uses the compliment (color opposite on the color wheel- in this case red violet) to make a nice grey I used as the darker value. I’ve done this successfully before but not here. It just got muddy and I overworked it. I blame the paper! No, seriously, this technique works best if you take the time to let the colors fully dry and use a layering technique which I clearly don’t have time for in a ten minute sketch.

(This was NOT ten minutes, so it lost all its freshness) This painting isn’t speaking to me much. If anything its saying I tried too hard. I drew these first which I did not count in the ten minutes.

Finally, the paintings I like best and no so much. They are the same painting but I snapped the picture at the start because I liked how the painting was going. It says something to me. I can often tell if a painting will be successful by the feel of the first few strokes. It’s keeping myself from killing it that is always the challenge. Which in this case is what happened. Here are before and after pictures of the murder. Viewer beware, these photos may be hard to look at! 

This guy is saying-go with the flow, loosen up and don’t take yourself so seriously! I like using the paint to draw. Sometimes I think line, while I LOVE line, has by nature constraints. You tend to paint inside the lines. I mean isn't that why they're there??? It's formal and tight unless you are very intentional otherwise. So that's how I feel when I look at the painting before this. While that’s good for some paintings its not the goal I set for myself. On to the next victim.

This guy is saying, you think too much! Its still nice, but I killed the fresh feel it had in the beginning. That’s what I mean when I say listen to your subject. If I had stayed true to what the beginnings were telling me, this would be a much different painting. It might not have been a success, but I have found that following the muse usually makes a better painting than forcing it into this direction or that. 

And so concludes my ramblings. The daffodils will be around for at least a few more days. I hope to do a sketch everyday while they are here. Somehow the ones with the orange centers have disappeared and I know deer don't eat them, but the ones with multiple tiny flowers are yet to bloom! Those babies really speak to me!! I am also using some new tools which I will talk about next time. I find using new supplies always has some type of learning curve which can be a good thing. 

Until next time. 

1 comment:

  1. Truly loved your daffodil post! Looking forward to more!
    Hugs, Donna