Thursday, December 6, 2007

Flame Red Tulips

This is the final version of Flame Red Tulips. I got a bit side-tracked over the Thanksgiving holiday and my son coming home for the week, but now it is finished and framed.

I found working with red was especially tricky with this painting because it required an intensity of color, but also a luminosity. This is not easy to achieve when layering red pigment - and washes don't do justice to the vibrancy of color either - so the challenge was to create the rich reds without losing their fire.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


I've talked about my work as an artist to various groups, and answered many thought-provoking questions regarding my technique and inspirations. I created this blog to focus on my work so that I might take time as allowed to reflect on what it is I do, and share my thoughts and progress with those who are interested in watercolor painting, in my work in general, and in the process that an artist takes to achieve their goal.

I will post updated photos of my paintings as I work, so that my work might be seen firsthand as it progresses from intricate drawings on paper to the final piece. I welcome comments, questions and thoughts regarding my work, and of watercolor painting in general. (Random thoughts are also welcome!)

To begin, I have posted the newest painting in progress which features one of my favorite silver pieces and a rather interesting shade of red tulips born from a pigment that incorporates both tangerine and cherry. Reds have posed a great challenge for me when painting - achieving a brilliant, deep red hue without the muddiness that can so easily come with watercolor reds is quite a task. I've found mixing green - red's complementary color, works to deepen the color, while black pigment, added judiciously, often adds a jeweltone to red as well. Building the pigment with less and less water added in each glaze (layer) helps with intensity, while adding offset color (green) and finally black in the right amounts can create the depth desired. It takes experimentation and, quite frankly a lack of fear, to achieve the look desired. Layered color for the most part can be diluted and removed if it isn't working well, allowing me to start over - so long as the end result is depth of color. It's harder to reverse the painting when a lighter touch is needed.

This week I am looking to finish this painting, moving to the red drape around the focal point. This will be an interesting process as the fabric has yellow, gold and green stitchwork throughout and requires much time-consuming patterned painting to work around the slender bits of color in the drape.