Friday, January 6, 2012

Work in Progress: Two Plumeria Paintings, Continued

I painted the upper right pedal of the first plumeria flower -- it looked very dark compared to the reference photo, but I have decided not to let it bother me. However, I am not so happy with how chalky and muddy the blue in the shadow looks, and the yellow near flower center also lacks brilliance. So I paused to set it aside and think about whether I want to continue in the same direction for the rest of the pedals, or completely lift this pedal out to repaint it. I did like all the lifted whites on this pedal and kind of want to keep it...

Blushing Plumeria,  
Watercolor on Fabriano Artistico 140# Cold Press Paper , 6"h x 6"w, WIP 4

For the second plumeria, I tried to wet the shadow shapes on each pedal, and mingle colors in one go to finish it, adding New Gamboge, Winsor Orange, Quinacridone Gold and Quinacridone Burnt Sienna near the flower center, dropping in the triad grey in the shadow part, and finally using Permanent Rose and Quinacridone Magenta near the pedal's edge. However, in the process, somehow I have lost the identity of each color, and everything seemed to have mixed together on the paper to make mud... I really did not like how it looks after painting the second shadow area, and decided that I shouldn't try to rush things this way.

Plumeria II,  Watercolor on Fabriano Artistico 140# Cold Press Paper , 5"h x 7"w, WIP 2

Luckily, Fabriano paper is really great for lifting. So, off they goes -- with a Robert Simmons Sapphire Round brush (synthetic fibers, softer than bristle and does not harm the softer papers such as Fabriano or Lanaquarelle, but still very effective in lifting colors off the paper), I "magically" erased the two dirty-looking shadow areas:

Plumeria II,  Watercolor on Fabriano Artistico 140# Cold Press Paper , 5"h x 7"w, WIP 3

I repainted each of the shadow areas in two passes -- one with Winsor Violet and Cobalt blue, setting the tone; the other with the triad grey, getting the details of the shadow shapes:

Plumeria II,  Watercolor on Fabriano Artistico 140# Cold Press Paper , 5"h x 7"w, WIP 4

Finally, I started the over painting of the local colors of each pedal -- Permanent Rose and Quinacridone Magenta for the outer edges, New Gamboge, Winsor Orange and Quinacridone Gold / Burnt Sienna near the center to add brilliance and depth. This time taking it slow, wetting each section first, adding colors only when the paper surface is still wet enough to avoid the chalky look, and put down my brush firmly when it starts to dry -- after all I can always rewet an area after it has thoroughly dried, and float in more colors...

Plumeria II,  Watercolor on Fabriano Artistico 140# Cold Press Paper , 5"h x 7"w, WIP 5

This is how far I've got today, and I'm relatively happy with how it looks at this stage. I'll cross my fingers to hope I don't mess it up in more layers of paints. I have also drawn this image again on an Arches #140 Cold Press paper so that I try a different method of painting -- more glazing, less lifting and trying to put down the local colors first, then adding the shadow colors to see if it gives a different look. I love these little experiments and exercises. Only if I would not get so mad when they do not turn out right!...


  1. Hi Arena. Your plumeria are beauties. Yup, we all get mud when we try to rush the w/w washes with too many colors. And get mad, or depressed - I've been wondering WHY I still keep on painting! But, today is a fresh start, and I will be back at it again. :) I am really going to enjoy following your blog.

  2. Thanks for the kind words! I love the step-by-steps you posted on your blog as well -- I'm always curious to learn about how other artists work!

    It's so great to be able to meet so many wonderful artists online these days -- it's no longer a lonely pursuit any more! :-)


Thank you so much for taking time visiting and commenting on my blog! Your feedback and encouragements are things that keep me going with I am feeling down or frustrated... I will try my best to reply to every comment ASAP but sometimes life gets in the way and I am a bit slow in my response. I would like to apologize if that happens...

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