Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Work in Progress: More Tropical Flowers

Time flies -- my post here has been sporadic lately, although I have not been slacking off! For one, the study at the Golden Gate Atelier has resumed on October 1st after the summer break, and boy was I rusty! I am struggling Monday through Thursday trying to regain the skills of seeing shapes, comparing values, measuring angle and length by drawing from live models and copying master drawings, which leaves only the weekends to paint. Even those are hard to come by, however, since I have a couple of art fair events coming up every weekend of October (I will talk about my experiences in tomorrow's post, since I've learned quite a bit in my first art fair, and during the discussions with other artists who are veterans in these affairs)! Between printing, framing, setting up and taking down tents and panels, and long driving sessions, there are only a couple of hours here and there left to create new work. I am itching to paint and managed to paint in early mornings and late nights for an hour here, an hour there. Progress has been slow, but I thought I should at least share them here:

Soar,  Watercolor on Arches 140# Cold Press Paper , 6"h x 6"w, WIP 2

I've got farthest with this little 6" x 6" little painting of bird of paradise. It is not a very complicated image, and the reference photo is very colorful. I decided to try out the multi-colored layering techniques I've been learning in the fabulous Jeannie Vodden's class, and practicing painting with lots of water, thin layers of pigments, and wet-on-dry. Well, I would not say I was completely successful -- in some of the shapes of darker foliage areas I got carried away and again started blending thick, juicy pigments wet-in-wet. But I am not unhappy with the results. I would like to practice saving areas of delicate, light-valued passages using this method in my next exercises... I feel I do painting too heavy-handed sometimes and did not quite utilize the full potential of the delicate nature of watercolor glazes. Something to ponder about in future projects!

Jungle Fire,  Watercolor on Arches 140# Cold Press Paper , 8"h x 10"w, WIP 4

In this cropped bird of paradise painting, I have practiced the same glazing method as in the one above and managed to achieve soft blended edges in the background foliage areas. Now it's time to get that intense, rich orange color of the flower on there!

Heliconia Dance,  Watercolor on Arches 140# Cold Press Paper , 7"h x 5"w, WIP 2

This heliconia painting is still at its beginning stage. I am learning from the two bird of paradise projects, and taking my time to build up values using blended thin layers of pure colors. I love paintings at this stage -- you can play with the abstract shapes of light and dark, take liberty with the colors, and enjoy the flow of wet pigments on paper without worrying too much to make it look like the photo. Since I am enjoying this process so much, I am suspicious I've indulged a bit too long at this stage... :-P


  1. I love the blues in these pieces, Arena!

  2. The Heliconia and "Jungle Fire" are looking beautiful. I can actually see in them that you are becoming more adept with the thin layering process, Arena.

  3. I'm amazed at all you do. Your "heavy-handed" comment hits home. I start out slowly, but can get pretty heavy-handed with the paint myself. I don't know if there is a right or wrong way to paint. I've heard that "watercolor should look like watercolor"; I've also had a well-established artist compliment me for using "saturated" color. Your work does have quite a range of values, which is important. Keep doing doing what you're doing, and learning other techniques is a good thing too.


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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