Heavy Handed- but MAYBE on the right track!!

A maths teacher I had LONG ago used to say, "Practice saves milking time"! I have forgotten the maths ( mercifully) but never that saying! SOOO true... and I NEED to keep practising! I feel like I AM making SOME progress, but I never seem to have the nice chunk of time I need to REALLY work at it and to concentrate. Anyway, enough with the excuses...
I shot this photo last spring and will do more very soon, with a view to having a good reference photo or two to work on. This one is not good but I tried it anyway!
 I watched a really nice little video on You Tube by Ross Barbera painting magnolia. Learned and REMEMBERED a LOT of things I have known and forgotten. Anyway, inspired, I set out to paint this bloom!!! ( remember, please, I have NOT done this for a LONG time!!!)
I was fairly pleased with my initial sketch and with the beginning washes.

I let this all dry really well before starting the washes on the big fore petal.
Once again, so far, so good- or at least decent!!!
For one thing, I started my bloom too close to the right edge of my paper- 140 lb, cold pressed in a WC block by Fluid 100-6"x8".

Anyway, ever onward and upward...
Decided where my shadows were going to be and sketched them in. Painted in the bud sheath (FAR too green and FAR too dark , but what can ya do???) I also painted in a little leaf bud and the gnarly little stem. 
Finally, I added the shadows on the petals. I believe that another time, I need to lighten up and go easy on the heavy layers and intense paint values.
See what I mean!! Getting VERY heavy and overworked. I REALLY need to work on this again. This is NOT Poster Paint!! It is gorgeous Daniel Smith and Winsor and Newton Watercolour- DELICIOUSLY transparent and translucent!

And, at last, WHAT to do with the background? At the moment, that is the hardest thing for me! I just watched a wonderful video by an Englishwoman, Ann Mortimer , painting sunny Dog Roses! SUCH a delicate light touch! I LOVE her background in that painting! I know I CAN do that. I have done it many times before but it will take this old dog some time to relearn the old tricks. No new tricks right now! This doggy is almost TOO old for those! She ain't givin' up though, I promise you THAT!! So... The great reveal -hahaha!
Things I DO like- The sunshiny-ness of the Rich Green Gold by Daniel Smith. The way I was able to lift some leafy shapes out with my clean damp brush. Things I am NOT as fond of- The overly granulating Green Apatite , also by DS. It is a FABULOUS colour and paint but as this is such a tiny picture, that much heavy texture may be too much. I am also frustrated with my edges. Gotta get my act together and clean THOSE up as I go. Shaky hands are NOT beneficial!!
I recently tried Hot Press paper. NOT sure I really like it but I am pretty sure that for such an elegant , smooth subject as a glorious magnolia bloom, there MAY be a place for Hot press. I will just have to try it again and see.

So, you see, I am working at it and enjoying it tremendously. I feel more confident painting in this more "trad" style just now till I get the hang of paint, paper, water and brush again. I will keep trying to get loose but I need to brush up my Shakespeare, as it were- clean up my drawing, brush handling etcetcetc!!!Oh, what fun it is to paint . Bear with me please . I HOPE eventually to please YOU and ME both!! Happy creating!


  1. I think you did a great job Carolynn - I'm in need of lots of practice too!

    1. Thanks so much, Evelyn! Aren't we having a great time learning!