Monday, February 21, 2011

"Oh, So Sweet"

5¾ x 5¾"
Watercolor on mounted Arches Cold Press (Art Boards)

I am sorry it has been so long since my last post.  I have been crazy busy teaching kindergartners, and last weekend I took a much needed break and went skiing.  The photograph does not do the blues justice on this one.  I waited too late in the day to take the photo, so had to resort to scanning the painting.  My scanner does not always produce the richest of colors, so it's slightly flatter than the original.  The trickiest part of this one was getting the outer petals to look slightly transparent.

Reference photo was taken on January 23.  This is the most amazing Fragrant Wintersweet tree.  I was walking up the path from the Asian collection, when the air was filled with a wonderful sweet aroma.  I looked around and saw this fabulous tree whose yellow buds were just beginning to open.

I could feel my whole body relax as I stood taking long deep breaths of this luscious fragrance.  I wanted to replicate that experience yesterday, but while visually the tree was beautiful and in full bloom, the aroma was not as strong and intoxicating.

Note to self: visit the Wintersweet in late January, or better yet - plant one in my yard!

Monday, February 7, 2011

"Face It"

6 x 8"
Oil on linen panel (Ray Mar)

My goal in this one was to use fewer brush strokes and to be sure I got it complete in one session.  I accomplished both, though it was harder to stay loose with the smaller strokes in the more detailed middle of the flower.  I found it near impossible to get the true pinks I wanted with these oils.  The lighter pink became more opaque than I wanted.  I need to figure out how to mix a good fuschia.  Not sure it's possible.  Still, you get the idea of the bright light hitting those petals.

Reference photo was taken on January 23, 2011. It was a beautiful and warmer day, so I was hoping to find more camellia's opening up.  Could not find any fully open that also had good lighting on them. This one was near the President's Bridge as you are walking on the path towards Azalea Court.

Friday, February 4, 2011

"Warming Up"

5¾ x 5¾"
watercolor on mounted Arches Hot Press (Art Boards)

Well, I'm back.  It's been a crazy couple of weeks. I've been very busy with my new kindergarteners -- assessing, lesson plans, report cards -- and it's just worn me out.  I finally feel like I'm caught up, so can find more time to paint.  This is the first watercolor I've done on Hot Press paper.  This paper is very smooth, so it should allow me to be very detailed.  At the same time, however, it doesn't let the paint play as much, so it's harder to get those nice blooms that watercolor is known for.  

Reference photo was my favorite snowy day - December 27.  This is a glossy abelia that was peaking out of the snow. I loved the yellow against the blue sky.  These bushes are right by the Ayamebashi (Iris Bridge) near the bamboo.