|"Golden Iris" 22" x 15" watercolor|
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Yellow flowers pose a challenge: yellow pigments sometimes "misbehave" if combined with other colors. This painting shows how easy it is to end up with muddy or dull tones when adding shadows. Because they are complementary colors (e.g. opposites on the color wheel), purple/violet and yellow can make a useful gray when mixed together on a palette.
|Early stage of painting|
I began this painting by covering the entire 22" x 15" sheet of paper with a pale yellow wash of Winsor & Newton's New Gamboge. (All pigments used in this painting are Winsor & Newton Professional Artist Watercolors, with the exception of Shadow Green and Brilliant Orange which are both Holbein Artists' Watercolors). I'm providing links here to two useful online resources: Cheap Joe's Art Stuff and Jerry's Artarama. Both offer great prices and either low-cost or free shipping (depending on your order).
After doing a simple outline sketch of the blossom, I dampened the area of the petals and added color, wet-in-wet. I used Winsor & Newton's Lemon Yellow, New Gamboge, and Transparent Yellow, allowing the three colors to mingle on the damp paper. When dry, I began adding Holbein's Brilliant Orange and Winsor & Newton's Cadmium-Free Orange, accenting the ruffled edges of the blossom. After these layers dried, I added several thin washes of Mineral Violet combined on the palette with a small amount of French Ultramarine Blue, allowing each wash to dry before laying down another. I also used Burnt Sienna to deepen the shadows in several places, notably on the front portion of the left-hand petal, and on the central, upper areas of the blossom.
The center portions of the blossom where the petals come together at its core, and the stamens, were painted in Transparent Orange, Cadmium-Free Orange and Brilliant Orange. Parts were then glazed with Burnt Sienna to further deepen these shadowed parts of the flower.
The leaves were done in stages, weaving with freehand painting, the different layers and sizes of leaves. I used multiple thin washes, in various combinations, of Winsor & Newton's Permanent Sap Green, Green Gold, Winsor Blue (GS), Hooker's Green, and Holbein's Shadow Green. Foliage shadows were added last, in pale washes of Mineral Violet. The iris buds and stems on the right were painted using the same colors as above.