Sunday, June 29, 2014

Cosmos - watercolour process

It's been ages since I put brush to paper with pigment - and my mind has been busy with thoughts of creating something for some time now. Funny thing I know about life is that, when a thought keeps popping up in one's head - the only way to 'get rid' of it is to make a decision and take action on it...
And so it is with my current expression in art - finally getting the paints, paper and sketching done. Then it's simply a matter of filling in the shapes with colours diluted in water.

Step 1:
Get your paper on a board - stick it down with artists tape - wet it - let it all dry and stretch -
then draw the outline of what you want to paint.
This BIG piece of paper is 56x76cm

Step 2:
Block in some colour to define the shapes...
Since it's been a while - I found my painting 'skills' a little rusty. But the upside is, I'm not worried about making mistakes or trying to get things 'perfect'. As long as something is happening on the paper - my intention is to enjoy the process no matter what. The Universe applauds action - not thought. Though at some point, thought is the catalyst to action. No, I haven't studied philosophy :-)
I started off using cadmium yellow hue to define the center pieces of the flowers
then followed up with wet in wet shades of pink, red and purple

Step 3:
When the first layer of paint had dried on some of the flowers, I went over them again - adding more definition. Some of the larger flowers have been painted petal by petal. i.e. paint one petal - let it dry - then another petal and so on. Coffee is a good comfort whilst waiting for paint to dry...
I had some 'old' paint still dried into my palette, so decided to use up the green that was there to define some of the stalks and leaves. Once done, I will rub out some of the pencil lines - which look too dark to me.

... So this is where I am up to.
I'm not sure yet whether I will have a white background with lots of finer detail on the leaves of the cosmos flowers, or if I will use masking fluid to cover the flowers - then go with a watery dark background. All in good time. But the weekend is over with and I have a busy week ahead so will leave this unfinished painting somewhere I can see it often and let my mind figure out whereto from here.
I'm just enjoying the process so far and know that the person getting it as a gift will be pleasantly surprised when she gets a 'tube' in the mail one day.

Step 4:
This was just  an addition of more pink to the mix and going over some of the other flowers to create darker shades to define the shadows a little more. Then back on the stand where I can see it.

The camera didn't do as good a job as the previous pics, but I think you get the gist of what I've done.

Step 5:
I've had it in my mind that I am going to go for the full background of colour. Having made that decision, I 'sacrificed' a cheap paint brush on liquid latex (masking fluid) to cover each flower and prevent the white blooms from being ruined. In my mind I have painted the background already. It will be a fast and furious play of pigment - so I wont have the time to paint around each flower. Yay for masking fluid.
And this is what it now looks like...

Step 6:
Well, I learnt a valuable lesson about masking fluid - one I learnt many years ago, but had forgotten about.
When you use masking fluid, it's a good idea to NOT leave it on the paper for too long.
I masked the blooms one evening - fully expecting to fill the entire background in the following day.
Had a chat to someone who knew the other someone I was sending this painting to. She suggested I  leave the background white because the blooms looked "rather delicate" and that a background might "spoil it".
Fair enough...
Then it turned into a sunless weekend and before I knew it - a week had passed. So I cracked on and sprayed the painting with a paint laden toothbrush - trying not to overdo the background.

Delicate isn't my thing - so I'm a bit in limbo on this one now, but I want to get it finished...
Because the masking fluid had dried into the paper as a result of being there for 10 days - when I removed the stringy strands of latex - quite a bit of the pigment on the blooms came off with it - including some paper in parts. So, just have to do some work on this and I should have the final pic for uploading

Step 7:
... stay tuned...


  1. Loving it and personally, I like those dark pencil lines.
    Hugs, Luciana

  2. Thanks Luciana.
    Oh, those dark pencil lines - they've gone - well, most of them anyway.


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