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Flowers for dear friends

One of my New Year's resolutions was to finish a few projects that have been languishing in my flat files for a long time. I started this painting two and a half years ago, in the summer of 2012; it was originally meant as a wedding gift, but now will be more of a "you guys are still married, hooray!" kind of surprise for my friends. Each flower has significance for this couple, and the little honeybee was added after I'd finished the plants. I'm excited to have finished this one, and am looking forward to tackling another project (though I'll probably give myself a little break in between). 


Iceland poppies—finally finished! 

Well over a year ago, I began work on this painting with sketches of live Iceland poppies in my studio. Life got busy, as it has a way of doing, and I was only able to work on this piece in fits and starts. But a few weeks ago, I finally finished it! I thought I'd share some images of the painting as it progressed from nearly-done to finished product. 

When I last posted about the poppies, I had blocked in the color using acrylic paints, and was starting to add detail. I first added detail (medium and deep shadows) on the leaves, which I knew would be tedious, since there was quite a lot of green. Once I'd finished with that, I started adding detail to the flowers.

I was excited to get started on the flowers. Aside from the fact that I was a bit bored of working in green, these blossoms were the focal point of the piece. But I quickly discovered that each flower was going to take a while. Look at all the detail in this one peach poppy! 


Once all the detail had been added to the flowers, I started adding the little hairs that are found on Iceland poppy stems and sepals. This work was even more tedious than all those green leaves, but it was necessary to make the poppies feel realistic. 

After adding all that detail, the painting felt close to finished, but the bottom was so green that something was needed to unify the piece. It had been suggested to me to add some fallen petals at the bottom, and I liked the idea. As soon as I added these little bits of color at the bottom of the painting, it all came together and the poppies painting was complete! 

After working on this painting for such a long period of time, I was very happy to see this one finished, and I'm pleased with how it turned out! 



Wildflowers for Hana and Cooper

I've been working on my Iceland poppies and have updated artwork to post, but before I do, I want to share a little side project that I've been working on. A few weeks ago, I began work on a small painting of California wildflowers with a hummingbird and bee; I made sure to document my progress along the way so that I could share it here!

I began this painting with several rough sketches on various sheets of tracing paper (a favorite for early sketches, as it's cheap and erases well). I like to just sketch each flower on its own before trying to combine it into a layout.

Once I assembled my initial drawings, I scanned them as jpgs and opened them into Photoshop. (If I'm away from my scanner, sometimes I'll cut up the actual drawings and tape them together on another sheet of paper.) I placed them all in one Photoshop document; this way I could see how the proportions of the plants and how they looked next to each other.



Once I was satisfied with my layout, I created a new, clean tracing of my drawing, which gave me a chance to change little things (like changing the hummingbird's pose, or smoothing out jagged lines). This was scanned back into Photoshop.

Once in Photoshop, I screened back the whole drawing so that it was quite transparent; I printed this on watercolor paper. The inks in my Epson Stylus C88+ are water-resistant, so I knew I could paint over them, and it saved me the trouble of tracing my drawing again.

Time to paint! I like to begin by blocking in the basic colors throughout the entire painting. This helps me to see where there are areas that might need to be filled in with color or with more flowers.

With basic color added, I began to add detail. This part is always fun, as I can start to see the painting come to life.

Here's the finished product!

Wildflowers for Hana and Cooper • Acrylic, 2014


Iceland poppies, part 3

Wow, it's been a loooong time since I've posted anything here! After blocking in the main color for the various elements for this painting, I began adding detail to the poppy leaves. Putting in shadows and leaf veins help the flat color come to life, and make the leaves seem more three-dimensional. Right now the leaves still seem too monochromatic to me, so after adding detail to the flowers, I'll come back and add colors to liven up the foliage.

Here's a close-up of the leaves:

Next up: adding highlights and shadows to the flowers.


Iceland poppies, part 2

Time to add color! Using Liquitex acrylic paints, I begin blocking in color throughout the entire painting so that I can get a sense of whether or not the painting is balanced (i.e. not too much of one color on one side of the painting). My next step will be to add highlights and shadows, to deepen the color and make it seem more realistic... but for now, it's time for a break!