Today’s watercolor experiment:
At the risk of becoming succulent-obsessed, today’s study is yet another succulent. I bought this one at a food market. I thought it was a perfect complement to my orange-flowered one. These flowers were just as difficult to draw as the orange ones. What I found very difficult was estimating the differences in tonal values along the narrow depth of a flower petal. Before I begin, however, this is the photograph from which I worked today:
More specifically, I worked on a cropped version of the picture above:
In order to keep up my practice with pen and ink and at the same time sharpen my powers of observation, I tried to replicate the tonal changes with pen and ink. I used the same technique as in my previous post (Shading Practice).
This pen and ink study is not my best work. Some of the petals are well defined, but others are very confusing.
With time being a constraint today, I stopped pen and inking and began my watercolor.
As an alternative to using my big paper, I enlarged two flowers (as shown above in the cropped version of the reference photo). I remember that gamboge is a nice orangy-yellow pigment, so I used this as the major color. I also used aureolin and lemon yellows and some yellow ochre. for the shadows I used permanent mauve. Here is my finished study for today:
I am not happy with this watercolor. I had a lot of trouble shading the inner petals of each flower, resulting in a visually confusing picture. If I can’t make sense of it as the artist, I can’t expect the viewer to do so.
Reasons for difficulty:
The flowers were small and the illumination of the inner petals caused a shading too subtle for me to capture. Sketches rely on a pencil to trace the edge between two forms, or to define a form. Perhaps the drawing was not a good enough estimate of these edges and therefore not a good framework on which to hang the shading. But this somehow doesn’t seem right: shading and form should not be separable. Shading creates the form. However, the artist should know what form to recreate. This must be the problem: the failure of the artist to understand, or observe the subject properly.
With further study I hope to remedy the situation.