Oh my word. When I fall in love with a subject I really do. I knew after a hectic weekend and two weeks teaching I would be too tired to work on a serious painting today. Om my mind is the work I have to still wrap for my solo exhibition which opens this month. But I really couldn't resist painting the gorgeous rudbeckia flowers in my garden. I have seen them every day when I left to teach my watercolour workshops this month and I have been unable to paint them because I was always out. Today I could resist them no longer so out came pigments that I felt caught their glowing colours.
I have used Cadmium Yellow mainly plus Cascade and Spring Green combined on paper. You will see touches of Quinachridone Burnt Scarlet making the brown centres leap into life too.
Oh how I needed to let this positive energy out of my system. As much as I adore teaching my workshops are about everyone in the room, not me, so my painting time then is limited to interrupted demonstrations which is as it should be in a class. But after two weeks teaching I now just want to paint non stop in my studio. This is my time. But I am still happy to share what I am doing on my blog in the hope that my work will inspire my blog readers.
Firstly, I always have to fall in love with a subject. I cannot paint something that doesn't turn on my artistic heart. My rudbeckia flowers certainly did!
Once I have fallen in love with a subject I will find two or three ways to paint it. This challenges me as an artist and keeps my work fresh and exciting.
In my last blog post I showed a first wash that I had created to paint rudbeckia flowers but I also painted a second piece in a completely different way to stretch my artistic skills. You can see the two paintings side by side on my easel below.
Two paintings of rudbeckia flowers on my easel.
The second painting of these flowers I created today was by painting the brown centres first and then adding the surrounding petals to them. On white paper. I actually like the effect of leaving the white background as seen below. But I cannot learn anything from not pushing myself to go further with each piece. Neither painting is intended to be framed. I am painting them purely because I love painting them. So I can experiment with colour to my hearts content. I have nothing to lose if my next colour addition or brushwork goes wrong.
Fabulous light effect by leaving the background white in this floral painting of rudbeckia
I know I can easily paint centres and start a new painting on a large clean piece of paper now, so if I add a glaze to create a background on the above painting I will know if I like that effect too. We learn from trial and error experiments. By taking risks. Not by doing the same thing repeatedly or accepting one result as the best it could be.
And so when the above piece was completely dry I added a glaze from corner to corner with gorgeous flowing yellow at the top merging into green shades in the lower corner of my composition. As nice as the above painting is, the painting below looks far more like the real flowers in my garden.
A glaze of a layer of colour on top of a painting can make all the difference to the composition.
Now I can add detail to my flowers on this second painting and then start a new one with the technique I prefer. I know what works for me and what doesn't. I am thrilled with all three stages of these pieces. The finished " Dancing Rudbeckia " and the two ideas of creating with and without a glaze.
You will have your favourite way of working too. Sometimes artists simply don't know what their style is because they don't experiment enough to discover which way of working suits them. Being terrified of ruining a painting can hold us back as much as a lack of confidence to try something new. So do experiment often and here are a few tips to help you do just that.
1) Don't paint in the same style repeatedly.
2) Push your boundaries to the limit.
3) Take risks, it is the only way to learn what you do and do not like
4) Paint the same subject in three different approaches. Challenge yourself to do so.
5) Do fall in love with your subjects and bring them to life in as exciting ways as possible
The biggest tip? Read my books of course or watch my DVDs!
A new DVD by me, on painting flowers is now available from Northlight.com and Artists Network TV.
Whatever you do, paint!
After all. That is the only way to grow as an artist.