One Flower, 4 Ways: A Learning Process

Watercolor can be a battle, and I can end up with unpredictable results. I think that is why I am always drawn towards it. It’s so much fun. But it can get frustrating when the results are as they were today – inconsistent and illogical? I’m trying to find the lessons in today’s studies, because I think they all ended up pretty bad:

  1. This one is the most direct painting. I like the ‘drawing’ and the brushstrokes. But, the colors are too garish. The foreground and background don’t work together. It’s meh. 
  2. This one is working into a wet background, trying to pull the form like I do in oils. It became a muddy mess, yet I love the texture on this one the most and the weird blob cloud that comes out of the blossoms on the lower right is very satisfying to me and feel the most convincing of all the flowers I painted in this session.  But the rest looks like dodoo.
  3. I try to mix between 1 and 2. Here you an see that painting a lighter color over a darker color in watermedia looks really funky -not as much fun as in oils. 
  4. Choosing a focal point and painting in a direct way like in 1 with the most paint. Then in other areas picking a midtone and laying a background wash. Then apply slightly darker layers on top. This one was my favorite of the four studies and I think most successful until it started to get away from me.   I think if I had picked the right mid tones and then waited a little bit until that layer got drier and then went over with slightly darker shadesthat were still close too  that layer and then letting the dilution that comes naturally from adding water to the brush create a gradation. Not only waiting a little longer for the background layer to get dry but also premixing my colors in my palette more to get more accurate mid tones.  Wow I am overthinking it today. What’s next? I think if I was giving advice to someone else I would say simplify and try to keep everything the same and change one thing. I’m going to pull back on the color and try more monochromatic in the next session while focusing on things I learned in 4. Stay posted.

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