Again, Into The Breech

Before describing today’s effort, I want to show you my shading study:

Pen and Ink: Shading Study of a Fig

Shading Study – Fig
4″x6: 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block

I picked the unripened fig from the tree and placed it on the patio table. I correctly rendered the shape of the fruit and the shadow, but I don’t think I got the texture right. I showed this study to my wife, Joy. She thought it was a clove of garlic. I should try garlic tomorrow, for tomorrow’s shading practice.

Today’s watercolor experiment:

I used an even closer cropping of the same photograph of the yellow succulent flower that was the subject of yesterday’s composition.

Photograph: Yellow Flowered Succulent - Extremely Close Cropping

Extreme Cropping of Yellow Flowers

Like yesterday, I lightly drew the contours of the patches of dark and light. According to John Ruskin, 19th century painter, all one needs to do to faithfully render a scene, is to replicate its dark and light patches on canvas.

It may be significant that I was working from a two dimensional picture instead of from life. When one paints from life, one can change one’s angle of view of the subject to reduce a visual ambiguity. One cannot do this when one works from a photograph.

Here is the underpainting for today’s composition:

Watercolor: Underpainting of Yellow Succulent Flower

Yellow Flowers – Underpainting

Areas in shadow have a rather stark boundaries. These regions were not a problem to paint. However, those areas that change color gradually, indicating change of lighting or actual pigment of the petal, are much more difficult to  render.

The first stage of today’s painting (above) seems a hodgepodge of patches of assorted colors.

I was hoping that by applying different glazes over some of the discontinuous patches would be unified and flower forms would emerge.

Here is the next (and so far, final) stage:

Watercolor: Abstractish Looking Yellow Flower

Yellow Flower – Close In
9″x12″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block


I like this composition as an abstract. It doesn’t pass muster as a representation of a flower, except for the broad circular forms which could pass as petals.

I’m not giving up, but I do have an idea for a different approach to try tomorrow.

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