Oct 26, 2010

Hydrangea painting

So to continue with the series of paintings I created for the Pawtucket Arts Collaborative 10x10x10 show, here is number two - Hydrangea.

Hydrangea  10"x10" acrylic

I have a pretty decent sized flower garden in my front yard that my husband and I have been cultivating for the past 6 years. One of the first plants I added was a row of hydrangea under the windows on both sides of the garden. I just love (LOVE) those plants. Lots of color, easy to maintain, no major pruning or trimming of shrubbery - it's pretty much awesome.

So I took some photos of the flowers from the late summertime when they were blue with just a hint of purple coming through the blossoms and set up another painting. Because it's a close-up of the leaves and flowers there is a LOT of texture in this painting.

The underpainting with some color roughed in

First thing I needed to cover up all of that white canvas and get a base color - since there is also a lot of green, I added a deep purple so that the shadows could be established and I could build up the leaf color from dark to light. I also blocked in the area of the flowers with a deep blue.

Some of the leaves are taking shape

Next I started to define the leafy areas, working darkly and slowly building up leaves from the ground up. I kept a copy of my reference on the laptop screen next to the easel, and referred to it often to make my placement of shapes.

Leaves with the beginnings of texture

I continued to add detail and definition to the leaves, making them more textured and occasionally adding shadows between them.

The leaves are fully textured - now onto the flowers

I repeated this process, adding light and occasionally defining the serrated edges between leaves, until they all looked realistic. Then I began the detail on the flowers in much the same way, starting with rougher dark and light areas and then building more color and detail into the flower petals.

The completed painting, with more complex shading over the blossoms.

The last step was to add the brightest highlights to the petals, and also bring in more shades of purple so that the blooms were not monochromatic. Some of this was done with glazes of color, and some with paler shades of purple layered opaquely. The photo really doesn't represent the painting accurately - for some reason the intense blues seem to blow out with my camera. But at least here you can see that there is more shading and variety of color.

This painting will be for sale at the PAC 10x10x10 show beginning November 11th. I will be at the reception, along with many other talented artists!


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