February 17, 2010

Iris sketch

Dual Iris, 7 x 5", watercolour, Feb 2010
This is a quick sketch done in preparation for a larger work. I hope to do either a full sheet or a half sheet of this same pair of blossoms. I am not looking forward to drawing all the convoluted wrinkles and folds of the petals so that is the main reason why I have not started yet. Tomorrow promises to be a day mostly for painting (I hope!!) so perhaps I will get a good start on it then.
What I was focusing on in this sketch was loosing some of the edges of the petals. Using the lost and found edges to give a feeling of 3D space, where the lost edges that fade away disappear into the background and the sharp edges push forward towards the viewer. I try to establish this right at the outset. I tint the petals only lightly and when dry I paint in the deep background tones, trying to get them dark enough in one go. While this is still wet, I touch the edges I want to soften with a wet clean brush. I make a stroke with clean water into the petal, which gives the pigment of the background a chance to move into the petal, giving a nice soft edge. It is easy on something small like this. Much harder to keep everything at the right stage of dampness when the area I am working on is so much larger. This is why my flower pictures often have the edges of the flowers often running off the edge of the page. Plus I would just as soon use as much picture "real estate" on the actual flower itself.

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