Bird & Sunrise photo

Bird & Sunrise photo
Because "someday" is today!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Shades of Grey

I am enticed by all the flower catalogs that come in the mail and I do my best to resist buying anything. I know all to well that not many plants will survive the weather or the animals here on the mountainside. But last fall, I couldn't resist the "Reblooming Irises" offered by Brecks. I was anxious all spring to see what flowers would appear. So far, only two of the six plants have bloomed. The earliest was completely white and so pretty. I have to admit, I was hoping for something with more color, since painting white flowers is still intimidating to me. Anything "white" is basically every color but white because of the light reflections and shadows. I took a lot of photos, hoping to get something I felt inspired to paint.

I hesitated over the challenge, but decided to dig in. I experimented with mixing ivory black, yellow ochre and white to get a nice warm grey, as suggested by Helen Van Wyk. This looked pretty good, but when I added some alizarin crimson to get cool shadows, it just seemed a bit pink. The principle is to add cool violets to yellows to get nice shadows. My next attempt I tried dioxazine purple instead of the alizarin crimson and that seemed better. Although, when I was near completion I had the feeling that it just looked too purple and basically awful. Jeff confirmed the too much purple part, so I took heart and added back some more yellow ochre and burnt sienna, which is in the yellow family.

This is the odd thing about painting. Often, it will look like such a failure because it doesn't match what I had in mind. Sometimes if I will just take a break and come back with the idea of judging what is there, not what I think should be there, the painting will magically transform from a complete mess in my mind to something that is not that bad. I definitely had that happen this time and only within a few minutes. I was disappointed because I thought it was so ugly I wasn't going to be able to put it on the blog. When I decided to just judge at it as itself, it suddenly looked much better. It does look different than I imagined, but I will leave it up to you to judge!