Isn’t it amazing what the eye sees and how that is translated in the brain? At art group this week we were talking about how useful coffee breaks are. Just that break from your work for a few minutes is enough to give you a fresh perspective on it. I find when I am working from photos I will carefully paint in the shadows and emphasize the light, but whilst I am working on it, it still remains a flat piece of paper as I look at it. However, after 10 minutes or so when I return, there is the beginnings of a three dimensional object on the page! I can now “see” the flower and judge how much more depth or light is needed, whereas before the break I would have kept laying on washes in a vain attempt to bring it to life. It has to be said though, that it is still a flat piece of paper!
I don’t know how much of this is down to having a fresh perspective and how much is simply the paint drying as this does make a lot of difference with watercolour. One thing I do know is it is immensely valuable.
Another useful trick I find when assessing my work is to scan it and view it on the computer. This seems to put a distance between ‘my painting‘ and ‘a piece of art on the computer screen‘. It just feels more impersonal and I can then make better judgements. Composition is something I find quite difficult and I have often added another leaf or a bud using this method. All in the mind I know, but what does it matter if it works?
I have added a few more cards to my collection. I am pleased with how they have turned out and so far they seem to be going quite well. I have added a DL size this time (long and thin if, like me, you are not familiar with the term). This size suits the foxglove as it cuts down the amount of white space on the card. The others are all C6.
Here’s hoping that my current painting has turned into a masterpiece whilst I have been writing this!
I have been very busy lately learning how to make good prints of my paintings. Before I started I didn’t realise what an all encompassing task this would be. It all began with a new printer – a Canon Pixma which takes up to A3 and is wonderful. Then I had to calibrate the screen on my laptop as the colours were not the same as the printer’s. This is not an easy task as it seems to be all down to personal preference and we all see things differently don’t we!
I already had a photoshop elements 1 but after wasting a lot of time, paper and ink trying to get prints I was happy with I finally decided to buy a more up-to-date version – number 11, thanks to a recent birthday. This was an eye-opener. it is so easy to use compared with the original version. My colours are so much better now although I had to change a lot of settings on my scanner, computer and printer to get them all working off the same hymn sheet as they say. The beauty of the internet is that there is always someone somewhere who has the information you require and I certainly required a lot. It is very satisfying when it all comes together though, because I do not find computer technology very easy.
I still get through a lot of paper just fine tuning my prints, but I think experience will probably help on this one. It always seems to be the case that the more you know, the more you realise you don’t know. My next issue is with paper as they all take up the inks differently…… but enough of the technical stuff for now!
Recent paintings …
Chionodoxa are small spring bulbs which look lovely naturalised in grass. The colour is beautiful and they look so cheerful. I love to paint close ups of small flowers as it really makes you appreciate how intricate they are. Some day I intend to paint so called weeds as they are just as beautiful as our prized garden flowers when you look as them properly.
This is of Helenium ‘Ruby Tuesday’ which is growing in my garden. It is not quite as tall as other heleniums and the blooms are a richer red/dark orange. It is one of those plants that are very popular for prairie planting with lots of ornamental grasses. I noticed that I always seem to paint blue or pink flowers, so decided to try these for a change. It was quite a challenge because I do think it is easier to paint subjects you like in colours that you like.