Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Any Suggestions?

Can anyone help with this little problem?

I began another painting of an Iris using the book I found courtesy of a post on Yvonne Harry’s wonderful blog (watercolourflorals.blogspot.com).

In the photograph I selected, in fact another picture of the variety that I painted for my last Iris picture, it was obvious that the front standard was in shadow but the rear standard had some light on it. This presented the obvious dilemma of getting the balance of values right and getting it to read so that the standards are correctly placed.

Attempting to solve the value problem has involved me in making a number of glazing passes and up to this point I don’t think I’ve succeeded. Here is where I would like a little assistance. Can any of you make suggestions as to how I might improve the balances in this painting? I didn’t help myself by putting in the variegated textured background without adequate planning.

Over to you.  



All the gear



Another Iris WIP - Watercolour on Rough paper 16" x 12"

20 comments:

renate said...

Hello Mick:) On the first place; I'm just an amateur, but I always try to help though. I thought: what would I do if this was my painting? You yourself have already said what was not good: the background. The flower is beautiful but the background is so busy that you flower almost not notice. If this was my painting I would on the background that you now have a number of washes do with Indigo or black. Probably you'll still see the outlines of your background but that can also seem quite nicely. But you'll have to try that out. With a solid background, your flower better to its fullest! Good luck:)

Ray Maclachlan said...

Mick, the colours are beautiful and the textures great.
Maybe use less paints out of the vast range you have.

L.W.Roth, said...

I think the background and the petals in the foreground will be just fine if you create more depth via darker values in the iris itself. Actually, I think that's the move to make first. If it doesn't work good enough to soften the background, then paling the background down will be needed. Go slowly. Feel it out. The colors are great. This painting is worth fussing with.

Sharon Whitley said...

Oh Mick I'm hopeless at giving art advice but tend to agree with what the others are saying - and their suggestions - it is worth persevering with, good luck!

Sophia Khan said...

Hello Mick,

Great to see another one of your Iris watercolors:)

I might suggest making the center standard a bit darker, before making changes to the background. (Not where the light is hitting, but in the center of the standard). I noticed in the reference photograph that it is a bit darker. This might help tie in the three standards.

Another simple trick I use is to simply put the painting away for some time. Upon returning to it you can see it with fresh eyes.

Either way, I am sure this will progress beautifully and I look forward to seeing it:)

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Mick,
Good looking work there. As for the values I think if you look closely you can see the values have subtle changes in the shadowed area of the flower and the lit up part of it is actually slightly darker. In the shadowed part you can see it is darker at the base and the upper part....it has a slightly lighter center section....just my 2 cents Mick. Nice!

Mick Carney said...

Renate - thanks a lot. I like your idea about making the background simpler and I'll put another glaze over it to see how that works.

Mick Carney said...

Ray - You're right, limiting the number of paints would have been a help in this one. Adjustments on the agenda.

Mick Carney said...

Linda - Thanks. You highlight (no pun intended) the need to stretch the value range in such a way that it produces depth and that is now on my list of jobs with this one.

Mick Carney said...

Sharon - the supportive comment is encouragement enough.

Mick Carney said...

Sophia - Thank you. Those standards are the main dilemma and are going to need careful planning. However I am going to take your advice about waiting so I can return with a fresh eye.

Mick Carney said...

Ron - Thanks. Well spotted. The subtleties you observe will certainly improve the piece.

Nora MacPhail said...

Darker darker darker. If I squint at the picture in the book, the centre of the flower is all darker than yours. To achieve backlighting you may need darker white in the centre of the iris and darker yellow green down the stem. Really squint at the picture in the book. Or put your painting right on top of the book and see the value difference.
The background is wonderful. I like all the patterns.
Happy Painting.

Yvonne Harry said...

Hi Mick
I had a good look at my copy of the book and I think some of the problem may lie in the interpretation of the photograph. To start with, I think one has to be careful about slavishly copying a photo, especially one like this which must have used flash photography and fancy backlighting. Where there are white petals I like to make large areas pure white regardless.
I believe that the standard is in fact two petals with more flower parts between them, and the painting may have been more successful if this was evident. Maybe you see it as a single petal, but an iris of this sort will have more than one. Also, behind the two falls at the back of the flower is a third fall which should be the same range of colours as the front two. I do agree with other comments that the background is a tad too busy. Have a go at only using a couple of colours in all the varieties of variations that you can conjure up, with plenty of dark behind the white standards to highlight them.
Hope that is helpful and not too long-winded. I certainly think the single bloom disappearing at the edges is a good composition for this lovely flower.

Laura Moore said...

Depends what your objective is here the light or the flower. Back lighting is probably the hardest to achieve. I suppose think of it as a blinding light. Your outer back petals will be lighter because they are the furthest layer back, delicate and probably transparent too so light will seep through especially as its white. Light will be difused on the edges too. So your middle petals should really be the darkest of the white areas as you have two layers of petals between you and the light. You are still trying to create recession so your back petals should be lighter anyway. You are doing great but why maybe you are struggling with this is tonally your background is similar to the flower in the foreground. It's recession you are missing maybe. This is just how I read it but I'm no expert by any means.

Peter Ward said...

I agree with Yvonne Mick. I did say on a previous blue Iris that it might have been better to put more of the compliment orange as the main background colour, or certainly restrict the number of colours to two or three. I've noticed the use of compliments (on Facebook) by some very good artists, two colours predominating.

Mick Carney said...

Nora - Thanks. Good advice and interesting that you like the background, others think that it needs some work to be done on it.

Mick Carney said...

Yvonne - Thanks so much for your interest and your help. I will certainly look again in more detail at the source and give consideration as to how I might meet your observation.

Mick Carney said...

Laura - Thanks for your thoughtful and insightful comment. You give me quite a lot to think about.

Mick Carney said...

Peter - Thanks as always. Yvonne is such a good role model, I must thank you for introducing me to her work. Consideration of complementaries is something I didn't do sufficiently well with this one.