More abstract flowers

I tried to stay cool this week, but it hardly seemed possible if I went outside. Yesterday was the 22 consecutive day in a row of 90+ degrees. It is just hot, hot, hot out there.  I keep missing the total number of days above 90 for the summer but it has to be getting up there.  The dryness of the ground is unbelievable.  Overly humid air that doesn’t rain and rock hard, cracking earth make it an uncomfortable time for every living thing.  We got almost .3″ of rain Saturday night, but it seemed merely a drop in the bucket.  By Sunday afternoon you would never have guessed we had gotten anything at all.

Black eyed susans

The heat and drought have taken a toll on my flowers, but I went out and picked what I could, including some black-eyed susans, petunias, and some more day lilies for live studies  I decided to try the susans first so I could work at keeping the yellow values brighter.  I first layered in cadmium yellow and then added the darker colors.  Since I had to spend most of my painting time this week  in the evening under my daylight fluorescents it was hard to get true color values.  The photo is a little more vivid than the actual painting, but all in  all it is a fair representation.  At this point, I feel it is just okay.  Perhaps I am getting a little bored with the flowers at this point and just need to move to something else right now.  I will let it sit for a few days and then look at it again.  

Lily revisited

I also decided to revisit the last day lily painting.  I had felt the overall balance was a little off with the greenery  at the bottom so I went back and added a little more.  I like it better now and will probably let it go at that.  I picked a few of my fresh tomatoes and some small green apples from an old apple tree growing in the upper field yesterday, so I’ll probably do these this week as a change of pace.

12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Karen
    Aug 08, 2011 @ 12:28:14

    I meant to tell you last post how much I liked your architectural piece. I think the flowers are quite nice too, however, I’m really not a flower person, so I much more enjoy the buildings.

    I have to comment on the heat. Enjoy the 90’s, here they had been counting the number of days over 100! We finally got rain but is was 4″ in one day. It caused flash flooding as the ground was so hard and dry I don’t know how much actually sunk in. And now it just raised the humidity level.


  2. ruthsartwork
    Aug 08, 2011 @ 13:29:10

    I prefer the architecturals too. I just felt I needed a break after 3 or 4 in a row. My brain was getting fuzzy and uninspired.

    We are “supposed” to get rain tonight and maybe tomorrow. Then the weather is supposed to break back into the 80’s in the day and 50’s (!!) at night. I might actually start weeding again. LOL Or not.


  3. handpaintedpetals
    Aug 08, 2011 @ 16:40:03

    Ruth, very interesting to your thought process about the flower pieces; it sure is hard to know when to just leave it to sit for a day or two, IMHO. I always look forward to seeing what you put up next!


  4. ruthsartwork
    Aug 08, 2011 @ 19:18:38

    I agree Sheryl. It is so easy to do just a little too much. I have learned the value of stopping sometimes and then I can see the whole picture again a little bit later. sometimes then next day is enough.


  5. lesliepaints
    Aug 08, 2011 @ 23:34:53

    These are beautiful, Ruth. For the colors you chose and the texture you added all the way to the contour strokes you incorporated on the petals. Are you using Arches coldpress 140lb? You hve balanced your colors well by using foreground in background and vice versa. I really think what you are searching for is more colors in your work and that will come. These are a huge step!


  6. ruthsartwork
    Aug 09, 2011 @ 08:59:35

    Thanks Leslie. I am actually using a Crescent 5114.6 cold press watercolor board. I have had so much trouble with paper wrinkling I just decided to use something really heavy and not fool with it. I used this for the architectural pastels first and liked it. I used a slightly creamy background for so long that I have actually had to get used to the very white surface. It is really hard to judge the substrate colors on the computer.

    You may be right about the color aspect. I end up with mud some of the time and it is a process of experimentation to see where the colors go to when mixed. What would you recommend as a good proffessional brand. Another one of those things no one ever told me.


    • lesliepaints
      Aug 09, 2011 @ 10:25:42

      I tape all four sides of the paper I work on to a board. Yes, I get some rippling, but if the painting is left on this board overnight and allowed to dry, fully, it always goes back flat. Crescent board does not allow for all the layers I like to work in or some of the techniques I like to use. I think the workhorse of papers is Arches 140lb coldpress. This paper is tough and absorbent allowing for many layers. Saunders Waterford and Lanaquerelle 140lb coldpress are equally as good but cost more.
      I think the board is great for the work you do with your architectural renderings where precision is paramount and you are only adding light washes and working with exactness, but it may not allow for the freedom the other papers do when you wish to explore some of the watercolor techniques you read about. It took me a long time to learn this. When I read articles in watercolor magazines or techniques in watercolor books I pay careful attention to what paper the artist says he/she is using. It does make a difference.


  7. ruthsartwork
    Aug 09, 2011 @ 14:02:53

    Thanks for the paper info. I was actually asking about watercolor paint brands but I guess I needed to know more about the papers too and didn’t realize it. LOL


    • lesliepaints
      Aug 09, 2011 @ 14:19:34

      I apologize. I thought you were asking about papers. For years I used Winsor Newton watercolors (artist grade ones). They are superb. I recently switched to American Journey and like the somewhat different look they have to them (they are also artist grade but tend to be easier on my pocketbook). I started with the student grade colors by grumbacher and it took me some time to get used to the artist grade, more expensive tube colors, but I would never go back. There is a richness and a quality that can not be achieved with the student grade pigments. I can achieve what I want or closer to what my mind’s eye sees with better pigments.


  8. ruthsartwork
    Aug 09, 2011 @ 17:12:19

    Thanks. If I’m going to the expense of professional grade, I wanted to know which ones you might recommend. I don’t really think materials are the place to cheap out.


  9. Sonya Johnson
    Aug 09, 2011 @ 21:04:03

    I am finally catching up on blog posts here, and must say that I just love the painting of the Black-Eyed Susans! I saw lots of those in gardens and even growing along the sides of the road during our AZ trip. It’s a shame that the drought and high heat conditions are what lead you to pick your garden flowers, but at least they are getting some water in a vase. I hope the dry and heat spell ends for you soon.

    Also, nice work on the previous commission – I can imagine how tricky it was to make light gray look interesting, but you pulled it off :).


  10. ruthsartwork
    Aug 10, 2011 @ 09:26:44

    Thanks Sonya. I always like to pick my garden flowers anyway to brighten up the kitchen. I’m taking some tomatoes I’ve grown and painting them today.


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