I loved this assignment. I feel like I have improved since the last assignment, and each element (the drawing, planning composition, painting) all came much more naturally. I chose this rose because my friend has asked me to do a commission at the same time as the assignment, and this rose suited her brief. I thought combining the commission and the assignment made sense…!
After many hours studying the rose, photographing different elements and views of each flower head, I settled on the aspects of the rose I wanted to paint and set about drawing. If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know that I like to draw onto cartridge paper, and then create an ink version of each individual component on separate sheets of tracing paper (shown in the photograph below). This makes composition planning much easier, and it means I forever have an ink copy of each drawing individually.
Composition planning is made much easier by the process I’ve explained above, but it is still always a challenge to get it right. I had lots of components and so lots of options. A couple are shown in the photos below. I settled on the final composition because it felt balanced, with interest at both the top and the bottom of the piece. I did have to move around some of the leaves in order to make the composition flow naturally and not be too busy.
The next stage is to ensure the colours are botanically accurate. Colour studies also give me a chance to have a ‘practice run’ which I am always grateful for, as it always turns out completely rubbish (see examples below!)
I used varying mixes of Quinacridone Rose (Daniel Smith), Opera Rose (W&N), and P. Alizarin Crimson (W&N) for the flower heads.
For the leaves I used a mix of Indanthrone Blue, Quinacridone Gold, and Green Gold (all Daniel Smith).
A really key part of the colour studies are making a botanical grey. This is used to create realistic shadows on the plant. A good botanical grey is particularly important on pale flowers, as it’s really the main way to demonstrate form. To make a botanical grey I take three of the primary colours used in the piece (in this case Quinacridone Rose, Indanthrone Blue and Quinacridone Gold).
Having got my colours planned, I could then move on to the painting!
The finished piece:
I got 8.37 out of 10 for this assignment. At first I was very disappointed, but the criticism was very constructive and I have a few areas that I can work on.
I hope you've enjoyed reading this post. The next assignment is fruit - so a completely different challenge!