Slight Road Trip

We attended a ‘celebration of life’ today. It was sad for those who knew the man that died, one of Joy’s cousin’s exes. Everyone was supposed to come in casual attire; he was a surfer – until the very end. His last heart attack was on his surf board. I met the man once or twice and he seemed a very nice fellow. I learned a lot about him from the tributes as well as a Skyped eulogy from an aunt in Australia.

The house was way out in the country. I had almost forgotten what the countryside was like. But the best thing were the orange poppies. They are called California poppies and are the state flower.

Today’s experiment

They were all over the place, but I took a photograph of these two:

Photograph - California Poppie

California Poppy

When we got home I started today’s study.

Stage 1

I had planned to make my orange color through stages of glazing (yellows and reds). Below is the first stage. The first paint I applied was cadmium yellow pale. I felt comfortable with this. Although it is an opaque color, there was no layer below it to obscure. After it was dry, I applied Winsor red for the shadow area and Alizarine crimson for rest of the petal.

Watercolor Sketch - California Poppie - 1

California Poppy – 1
5″x7″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block

Stage 2

I applied more Alizarine crimson to both images. After it dried, I noticed that all the petals were too dark. I used my ‘elephant ear’ sponge to lightened the appropriate areas on the petals. I used cadmium orange and Van Dyke brown for the center parts of each flower.  I probably should have masked these out with the latex resist so they would have stood out more from the petals in the background.

Watercolor Sketch - California Poppie - 2

California Poppie – 2
5″x7″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block

Stage 3

I wanted at least one more glazed layer, so I used my beloved lemon yellow as the final glaze for the flowers.

Watercolor Sketch - California Poppie - 3

California Poppy – 3
5″x7″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block

Final Stage

Since I found the poppies in the grass, I thought it would be nice to place a green background behind them. I started with sap green, with which I had such good luck in yesterday’s experiment. I overpainted that with Hooker’s green and dabbed away at it with paper towels to get a texture. I found that was easier than drawing grass – practically anything would be easier than that.

Watercolor Sketch - California Poppie - Final

California Poppy – Final
5″x7″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block

The poppies in the final study seem a little disembodied, but I like them.

2 thoughts on “Slight Road Trip

  1. I love Californian Poppies, I used to grow them. Lovely colour sketch Jack. I’m really enjoying your art.
    Hope all is well my marvellous friend.
    Warm Regards
    Your friend


    • Thanks, M. Yes, the color of the California poppy is captivating. I’ve been noticing more and more of them while driving through the countryside.
      All is fine here. Hope all is well with you. Take care of yourself!


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