Sunday, March 24, 2019

Garden Royalty

Garden Royalty
transparent watercolor  16" x 20"
...Near the end of summer last year, I took some photos at a garden center because I knew I'd want some good reference shots during the winter when flowers are few and far between.
Although I had painted a smaller version of the iris blossom a few months ago, I've wanted to challenge myself with a larger format. This finished painting is 12" wide and 16" high –– not enormous, but certainly challenging to someone who usually paints on a 7" x 10" or  9" x 12" watercolor block.
Often, I can complete two smaller paintings on a "good" day –– but this painting demanded an  estimated 25 hours of work, counting from the initial pencil sketch to the addition of my signature in the left-hand corner.
The biggest hurdle was the background –– I didn't want the blossom floating against a stark black background, but I wanted to avoid having the background "take over" the painting. Using a subdued, mottled green and adding the  "spiky" foliage that is characteristic of iris plants, felt like the right combination of features to highlight to blossom and yet to give it a context.
Reference photo
Most of the flower was painted using Winsor Violet, Mineral Violet, and French Ultramarine Blue. The greens were done in Shadow Green (Holbein), Permanent Sap Green, Green Gold, and Winsor Blue (GS), with added washes of Transparent Yellow.
Once the painting is framed, it will travel to Cape Cod, where I hope it will be juried into a show there....  stay tuned!

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