Saturday, 12 May 2012


Before I start work for four weeks, full time, I have made the most of the week by finishing a rhododendron painting, that I had been promising myself I would tackle again after selling the first attempt at last year's exhibition. The bush grows in my garden in a large pot, and it was the flowering this spring that reminded me to get down to it. The photos are all quite complex as there are lots of trumpets in each flower head. It is a case of what to include and what to leave out. I think I have been a bit mean on the left side of the flower, but it is always easy to be wise in hindsight. My usual Fabriano Artistico extra white paper  and a combination of Maimeri, Daniel Smith and Graham paints and I was ready to go. I lightly drew in the flower shapes and the leaves and using Daniel Smith 's Quinachridone Magenta and W&N Permanent Rose. I began painting the flower parts on the r.h.side

I also added some colour to the lower leaves and put a pale wash on l.h.areas and behind the flowers on the right to make the white parts more evident..
I then continued to enjoy adding more colors to the flowers, getting lost within the structure from time to time, but thinking it didn't really matter!

I also started adding some of the dark background behind some of the petals on the left, to see if the composition was holding up.I did think that the bud was a bit of a funny shape, but was not sure at this stage how I was going to rectify that.
I finished the flowers, flooded the background with lots of lovely darks including Indigo, Quinachridone Rust, Golden Lake, Transparent Orange Iron. and some of the pinks used in the flowers. This produced a very wet painting, and I had to be careful to control the flow, to prevent it going onto the flowers. It also created pockets of paint where the paper buckled.

If the paper does not dry totally flat, I deal with the problem by letting the painting dry completely. Then I spray the back of the paper liberally with clean cold water, place the painting face down on a clean white paper, and place a board on top which I weight down with a pair of old flay irons. Then I let it dry completely, and the painting has always come out totally flat, ready to mount and frame.

All that was left to do to the painting was add some shadows to the underflowers and the l.h.side and it was finished.
As I said earlier, a bit mean with the trumpet shapes on the l.h.side, and the bud is still a bit of a funny shape!

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