Thursday, 6 February 2014

On The Dark Side : Snowdrops 2014

Snowdrops on my easel

I have had a very productive day in my studio. I have several paintings on the go including Spring florals, a gorgeous cat and my beloved roosters. All heading for a Spring solo exhibition this year. I leap from subject to subject throughout the day as my creative mood takes me. My main goal is to enjoy every single brushstroke and I also love variety.  I am experimenting on new ideas for my next book and have a stunning watercolour of snowdrops evolving on my eaasel, as seen in the above image.

I've been reading quite a few emails from artists who are achieving "mud" in their results. I know that on a workshop last year we all laughed when I attempted to show how to avoid creating mud by attempting to do just that as pat of my demonstration. Unfortunately each time I tried to create muddy watercolours my colours simply sang all the more. Hence the laughter in the room at the time.  Maybe the sceret is to aim at making dull muddy effects and then they won't happen!

I was reminded of this memorable session when I looked at some snowdrops in my garden this week. They are hidden from view and seem to have pushed their way through some fallen twigs on the ground. This area of earth could be a brilliant section to practise aiming for dull muddy effects which will ensure the white of the snowdrops in my painting sing beautifully ; highlighted by the dull carpet of uninteresting woodland underneath them. To gain a more realistic colour combination I placed my half finished painting on my wooden easel and literally painted the lower half of the paper in dull brown shades matching the wood I could see. This  earthy section, I covered with cling wrap whilst the wash was still damp. Initially I worked around white negative shapes of the snowdrops and gradually built up the surrounding background with layers achieving depth of colour using violet and turquoise. There is a terrific splash of Cadium Yellow as an underwash colour in the middle section on the right that acted as warmth under the final blue layer addition.

I am really excited at how dark this painting is. How dramatic and how effective for an attractive snow scene. As always, a section within my painting makes a fabulous composition when cropped. Which means I have a choice as to work further on the background or use this crop as the finished piece.

Cropped section. A painting within a painting.

But I am enjoying myself far too much to stop!



Anonymous said...

If that's the dark side, count me in - it's beautiful! The snowdrop stands out like a herald, giving us hope there are better times to come!

Jean Haines SWA, SFP said...

Thank you! I am still working on my dark side but with foxgloves today! Its' so exciting working with dynamic colour combinations!

Kat Farmer/van Hookens said...

these are so pretty, just been out looking at the snowdrops in our garden, some pushing up under the wild plum trees, such lovely bright sparkles in the shadows...