However, as usual, it has been fun trying, and I will certainly keep having a go from time to time.
I started with a couple of photos I took in the garden of a splendid Fatsia bush. As the leaves are very glossy, the strong sun gives lovely lights and darks which I thought might be good to try. It also nicely fitted that week's topic at Avon Valley Artists Group which was 'Mostly Greens'
I started with a reasonably accurate drawing as the subject was quite complex and it is important that the finished painting 'reads' right. I started in the centre of the painting so that I could work on both leaves and backgrounds at the same time. I tried to keep in mind the idea that strong sunlight always creates strong shadows. I left parts of the leaves unpainted to give the bleached out areas and tried to set them against darks in the background.
At this stage, I thought it was going quite well, and continued in this way until the leaves were complete.
Now all that was required were the background shadows. This proved much more difficult. I used lots of Indigo, Apatite Green and Quinachridone Gold and added scratched in twiggy bits to give some sense of where the plant was growing.
I am disappointed that the finished painting looks heavy and somewhat uninteresting. In hindsight, I think I should have introduced some colour, maybe like the open tulips in the corner of the original photo. Trying new things is always a challenge, so I looked for something else.
I came across the photo below of some startlingly pink Lilies that I had been given as having some painting potential! I have avoided it until now as an impossible task!
I approached the subject in exactly the same way as the Fatsia leaves; reasonably complex drawing and petals first. The only difference was that the paper was treated with a wash and cling film prior to the drawing as I thought this might help guide the background when I came to that part.
The flowers seemed to be going ok and I tried to remember that I had thought the same with the leaves at this stage, so I was extra careful about attempting the background as I had put quite a lot of time into the flowers and did not want to mess it up. I left the half finished painting up in the studio for a while and gave the background some thought.
I decided that I needed to keep the background lighter, even though there needed to be some really dark areas in it. As I was painting, I kept lots of small sunlit areas between the dark leaves and twiggy bits and I think it worked much better. In fact I am really pleased with the result and am looking forward to finding something else to try.
My thanks to Pete Weekes for the photo and for believing that I could paint such a beautiful clump of flowers. I hope he is not disappointed.
Both paintings were done on 'Andalucia' 500 gm rough paper from Hahnemuhle with my usual palette of paints