So Simple, and Yet…

Easter Lily

I couldn’t resist taking a photograph of the Easter lily on the kitchen table. My only disappointment was that I couldn’t get close enough with my phone – I mean camera.

This is the shot I liked:

Photo - Easter Lily, Closeup

Looks simple and delicate.

Today’s experiment

It looked like it would be so simple to paint. The image is mainly white with details (if you could even call them details – more like shadings) in off-white or gray. The stamen and pistols, if I remember my elementary botany, also cast shadows on the white petals, but they were slightly different than those cast by the indentations in the petals themselves. The deeper part of the flower is in shadow, but it has a greenish cast to it.  I thought it would be really easy to paint the pistols with their crusty pollen grains. I remember thinking that one of my colors, English yellow is the exact color I needed.

Here is my rendition:

Watercolor Sketch - Easter Lily close up

Lily – Business End
5″x7″ 140# Hot Pressed Watercolor Block

The richness of the photograph is not present in my sketch. Perhaps the hesitant brush strokes, the saturation of the grays was either too much or too little; the shadows in the deep part of the flower are not dark enough.

I like the idea that one can define a white edge by painting in gray (or any color) up to it. The trick, especially with the smooth hot pressed paper, is to make one decisive stroke; hesitations are manifested in unwanted marks. Perhaps wet on wet would have worked better.

The surface of the pistols is granular, but also has value ranges from dark to light. I could have worked on these elements with a smaller brush and shaded them a little better. This is where pointillism would work well.

The main problem in this sketch as a whole is the lack of range of values. I needed to include darker darks in the appropriate places.

A simple image like this one takes a lot of work to be a satisfying image.

Update on Arthur’s image:

I applied washes to the charcoal sketch that I painted yesterday. It looks better than it did, but it still needs something. I’ll have to gaze at it for a while to figure that out.

Watercolor Sketch - Arthur with Growth Spurt - Washed

Arthur with Growth Spurt – Washed
12″x9″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block

3 thoughts on “So Simple, and Yet…

  1. We here, amateur though constant critics that we are, like your calling to the visible of the lily. As far as Arthur, of course he needs something. If those tufts on his upper most stem are leaves, then there may be hope.


    • The tufts on Arthur’s uppermost stem are indeed leaves! Charcoal doesn’t allow for much definition and, I must admit I didn’t add the final touch, which would have been a kind of halos around the leaves. Thanks for your comment THGg.


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