May Madness Day 6: Blossoming

Thought I’d switch to a realistic watercolor for a bit, as I was making a card for my mom and wanted to feature a small painting.   This one is on a 3 x 4″ sample piece of 300 lb. Fabriano Artistico in traditional white.

050616

If you enjoy painting with watercolor, and you’d like to try a bunch of different papers, but don’t want to have to shell out the cash for a full sheet of a paper you may not really like, give Dick Blick a call (here is their contact information), and ask for a product specialist (They keep full-time artists on staff to answer questions, and help you find the right products.)   Explain that you’d like to sample different artist-quality watercolor papers, and they’ll be glad to send you a whole bunch of 3 x 4″ pieces, at no charge!   (Yes, I DO actually love Dick Blick.   Truly, they are the greatest store in the universe, IMHO.)    Just tell them the brands you’d like to consider.    What a way to celebrate the weekend, huh?   A free gift of art supplies!   What’s not to love?   Every time I check, I find their prices are the best.    If you find a better deal elsewhere, please let me know!   (Although I love their customer service so much, I would probably still order from them anyway hehe.)

I would love to get more vibrancy in my watercolor work.   I love the flow and the transparency of watercolor, but I’m missing the oomph I can attain so quickly  and easily with acrylic paint.    I also need to be more bold with my strokes, add a bit more water than I think at the start (loved this paper sample, but it dried really fast, I was very surprised, considering the weight of it), and be confident and let the paint do its own thing.    Maybe I’ll take a page out of Margaret’s book (Margaret is also painting every day in May, and so is Debi Riley – check out their (truly) beautiful work at the links on their names) and try the same subject multiple times, just to see what changes occur.   I could try with different sample papers, since Blick sent me about 40, in all different weights, colors and brands!   (They are so wonderful!)    If anyone has any suggestions of how to get more oomph into a watercolor work, I’d love to hear it!

I hope you are doing a Friday (and a Mother’s Day weekend) dance today.     Don’t forget to stop and smell (and paint!   ooh, and photograph!) the flowers.    Draw a Bird Day is Sunday, if you’re interested in joining us!  Peace.

86 thoughts on “May Madness Day 6: Blossoming

  1. Your flower reminds me of a ballerina! I’m sure your mother will love it.
    I haven’t painted in acrylic for awhile, but I remember it being more forgiving than watercolor. My answer to everything is to just keep plugging away…Happy Mother’s Day, enjoy! (K)

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  2. I am new to using watercolors, having used acrylics only so far. BUT, I want to start. I have some of the standard watercolors, but I also bought (but have not yet used) the Dr. PH Martins hydrus watercolors – as they are said to add a brilliancy to watercolor work. The downside is that they are not light-fast, but what the heck? I have not yet tried them, but you asked for any ideas, and that is one I had. I’m in the process of moving my studio from a cramped 10×11 room to a 20×12 room downstairs, so everything is in a mess. I’ll get to doing the watercolors as soon as I can. If YOU know something about these other hydrus watercolors, please let me know! Thanks! Love your coneflower! (?) Not totally familiar with all the kinds of flowers yet. I think also called echinacea. Good for colds, I hear.

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    1. Thanks, Jesse! I’m not familiar with the hydrus watercolors although I did pick up a set of the Doc Martin’s acrylic inks…..I forget what they’re called now but I really hope they’re lightfast. I’ll be bummed out if I find out they’re not. I wish you lots of luck and it does seem that what you’re talking about using would tend to give more vibrancy.

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          1. I’ve got an iPad and haven’t figured out yet how to cut and paste the link I used at Dick Blick’s. But I just typed in the search bar Dr. PH Martin’s – and they took me to everything under that – within the list is the link to the watercolor inks. Hope that helps. You got me wanting to break out my stuff and try it! It is just the studio is so packed and tight that there is no room to move hardly.

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              1. I’ll try this: this is a screenshot I took of one of the sets:

                Sent from my iPad

                🐾”We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” 🎨 — Joseph Campbell

                >

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                  1. I’m looking at your gorgeous flower again, giving thought to “white space”. While I truly think what you already made is perfect, if you were to do it again, would this be an idea to consider: sort of pushing the flower part down a tiny bit, which would make the stem shorter, and then using that stem color to add a few little flecks around the top also, like you did with the petal purple color? Same amount of white space, I think. Anyway, a thought. And I’m no WC artist AT ALL, so my thoughts aren’t worth what they cost you – nothing! LOL

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                    1. I like that idea Jesse, but I think what Jodi meant was the white areas inside the petals. I could be wrong though. I think your point is also good though, considering the background white as well and how much of that to leave. I have so much to learn about every kind of paint medium there is. lol

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  3. It is beeeesutiful! Makes me want to paint coneflowers!!! The thing I am learning and have to keep reminding myself because I forget almost every time is to allow white space. It seems unnatural at first and even looks odd at first we tend to want to paint it all. But in the end the white space of watercolor is what really seems to bring the light and vibrancy.

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    1. Thanks, Jodi. I did leave white space, though probably not enough. I had left so much that it looked weird, so I started filling in, then went too far. I still love WC but it frustrates the ever living heck outta me most of the time, to be honest. Acrylics are so much more predictable. The colors I have premixed that I knew I’d want for this flower are also not made by a vibrant color manufacturer (Cotman and WN) and I didn’t have the time to figure out how to mix the colors I wanted using the Graham tubes. I wonder if it would have turned out differently. And as you said I did lose more of the white than I wanted to when I went back to make it look less weird because I had left TOO much white. My mom will love it either way, as moms do, but if I were making this to sell, I’d have scrapped it and tried again. Thanks for your feedback, artistanista! (Haha I love that this thing autocorrects that word 😀😊🎨😎

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        1. I think next time to build it more slowly, this is something that I seem to always forget, I rush in thinking to build my painting up with color rather than learning that with watercolor it is different. I like what a blogger suggested to me…to step away and go back in and see if you need to keep building it up with layers. I think that he calls it “zooming in and zooming out” I think that is a good suggestion.

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          1. I think WC should be done in one layer, that’s how I see it. The colors should be vibrant enough to make that happen. I am a WN disliker and usually find when I use their stuff I have to keep going back over it and then it’s fussy and overworked. Maybe if glazing is done by an experienced watercolorist (or maybe just someone other than me) then it probably could be made more vibrant with glazing. I think it’s a great suggestion, I just try to avoid it. I’m prob way off base.

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  4. Love the flower! And the suggestion about “sampling” watercolor papers. Very timely information for me. I appreciate any and all advice I can get on watercolor papers. I’m about ready to head out for my busy, busy day, and one of my stops does include picking up a few new art supplies. I’ll be checking in later to share my new goodies! Happy Friday, Laura, and thanks again for sharing your art and the info.

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  5. What a joyful flower, your mom will love it I’m sure! Jodi’s suggestion seems spot on. Different brands have different intensity…lots of trials! Thanks for the insight on sample papers from Blicks, that’s so generous.

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    1. Yes, thanks Cathe. I used Cotman and WN because they were premixed and ready to go but I have a feeling if I’d had more time and patience to mix similar colors in my Graham palette, I’d have had more vibrancy off the go. I had left white at first, but it was way too much and looked weird but when I went back to fill in those areas I filled in too much! Oh sometimes it’s so frustrating working in WC lol! Glad you found the info about the Blick papers useful. I was so stunned when he offered to send me a bunch of samples! So kind of him. Patrick was the young man I spoke to. Have a great weekend. 💜

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  6. Beautiful flower Laura! I know what you mean about vibrancy is hard to capture with watercolor. Like Jodi mentioned, using the white of the paper to bring in the light and vibrancy. I am still trying to learn this! over and over! Also, I have found that allowing a strip or even a “spot” of white paper to show through, it give a sparkle to your painting and if you can plan it just right (don’t laugh, I know it is difficult!) then you charge a color or two that bump up against each other that then bounces off that white. Hard to describe. I am trying to aim for this all the time. There is a vibrancy when you have colors mingle together and if strategically placed against white, it shouts really loud! I’ll have to look into Dick Blick. 🙂

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          1. Can you imagine? Not for three + weeks, but I’m itching to get back at it. Thanks – it’s good to finally get a few moments to see what everyone has been doing.

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  7. Fabulous flower and conversation. I’m so excited about the sample papers idea! One thing I have started to do with the many failed watercolors is to use them as art journal pages. I like my Dr. PH Martin’s but get intimidated by the cost. I’m trying to play with them and throw off my worries but I’m about as successful with that as I am with watercolors as a whole.

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    1. Jeanette, I hear you! Thank you so much for visiting and liking so many of my posts. You’re very sweet. I get so frustrated with watercolor. I don’t know if any painting I’ve done in wc has ever made me happy. Maybe 1 or 2, and I’ve done too many, as you said. Collage fodder, most of it! But hopefully one day, we get enough mileage on our brushes, that we can please ourselves at least. Really nice of you to stop by. ❤

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