Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sunflower Study Three Times

After completing a detailed watercolor of a sunflower yesterday (you can view it on the home page of my website), I played with acrylic techniques today.

I've had a love/hate relationship with the color chromium oxide for too long a time. This grayed green does "match" the color of most sunflower leaves, but the color is so grayed that it can create "mud" really fast. You know what a dirty Army green looks like? I threw out the last of an old tube a month ago. Lo and behold, I found a new tube of it in my paint supply! So, I challenged myself to use it in these three studies of a sunflower. I used the same palette of colors in each of the little paintings.

In the first small sketch I used the paints in thick, opaque brush strokes. This is how I paint on canvas. The real challenge in this one, besides that chromium oxide mentioned above, was the angle of the sunflower and the bend in the head. I didn't fully pull off this tiny painting, but I liked the texture of the paint applications.


"Sunflower Study A"
6 x 4" acrylic on watercolor paper
Free to the first person to request it.
Updated:12/29/08 A person in Minnesota asked for all of these.
Click here to e-mail me.


Next I sketched in pen and ink a sunflower on watercolor paper and proceeded to add layers of acrylic colors in washes. This watercolor style lets some of the light of the paper show through the paint.

When I paint watercolors I use traditional watercolor paints which can be "lifted" from the paper unless they are staining colors. I can achieve all kinds of effects with "lifts". The acrylic layers do not lift, so it is hard to correct mistakes. I've often thought that I should switch to acrylics for my watercolor paintings, but I tend to paint "tight" every time I've tried it. I like the luminosity of the acrylic layers, though. Some day maybe I'll change the paints.




"Sunflower Study B"
6 x 4" acrylic on watercolor paper
Free to the first person to request it.
Updated: 12/29/08 A person in Minnesota asked for all three of these.
Click here to e-mail me.


The third study was done in opaque acrylics on watercolor paper with brushstrokes giving texture to the surface. I wanted to test this composition because I like the 3-D look of the sunflower with its petals pointing outward. I also wanted it with a dark background to emphasize the dimensionality of the sunflower head, so I used the chromium green oxide full strength with some cerulean blue to darken it more. More layers of blue and a dark red gave the rich background without reverting to using black. I may paint this composition in a larger painting.


"Sunflower Study C"
4 x 6" acrylic on watercolor paper
Free to the first person to request it.
Updated: 12/29/08 This little study is also going to Minnesota.
Click here to e-mail me.

1 comment:

Joanne said...

Hi Joann,

Boy, do I know what you mean about chromium oxide becoming mud in a flash! I have learned to use it to my advantage about one out of every four times I paint with it - but it is getting better. (grin) It is actually one of the colors in the background of my latest painting.

Joann, I am "tagging" you. Please visit my blog to find out how to participate - but feel under no obligation, please.

By the way, I love the picture of your WIP of the sunflowers. It is going to be beautiful!

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