I promised to show you the finished painting of the white tulips if it came out okay! Well, I didn’t even get to it. My husband offered to help me with framing for Artweeks Open Studios and it was too good an offer to turn down, so on Saturday we framed the whole day.
In the meantime Bev asked what a “careful drawing” is.
Calligraphers nearly always need to do”careful” drawings, and meticulous planning and so does anyone who is doing a complex piece, graphic design or many types of printmaking. So here is the careful drawing of the tulips. I drew from life and made sure that I was fairly accurate, even if I changed things around or deliberately fiddled with perspective.
When you do watercolours, you don’t have to start with a pencil drawing, then colour it in. So for the white tulips the only thing I did in pencil in the beginning was to position the flowers and to draw a series of ellipses to indicate the bowl of each flower. I didn’t use the pencil again until I’d completed the flowers. I drew a vague resemblence of leaves etc using my brush and “dirty paintwater” – see the two lower leaves on either side of the vase. Next, I moved straight into painting the shadows of the flowers, without any preliminary drawing, also picking up a bit on the background. I allowed colours to flood and puddle a little.
You can see some ambiguity in the foreground leaf. The end result is looser and less “designerish” or in my case, less stylised. But I still have to “pull it off”. I worked from life and the tulips open and close depending on the heat and how thirsty they are.
Of course with any painting, there are decisions to be made. With the red tulips I had planned a checked cloth, but this would have been too dominant. The idea of a shaft of sunlight and shadows came towards the end, but I needed the shaft of warm yellow to be coming from the back and the cast shadow from the side. I think that’s fine to do this and more interesting.
I had planned to do red pomegranates with the white tulips, but the tulips came out more delicately than I envisaged, so I’m going for pears and went hunting for pretty rosy-tinged ones. I had thought of the reflections which looked gorgeous in real life, but which may look wrong done in watercolour (by me!). So I think I’ll do the glass bowl with the pears. I wish I could convey this wonderful atmosphere and the reflection colours as shown below. I take photos as a record, but i prefer to work form life, or once again I just get too rigid. In a photo everything stays in position. In life, it’s more dynamic because if you move your head the relationships of everything changes. The shadows and the light changes as well.
I love the top left photo and think it would be good to interpret in acrylic or oils. I like the way the outlines of the pomegramates are lost in the shadows. But who is to say I can do this? I don’t know unless I try.