Flowers II

Here’s another water color. I really liked the flowers I drew for the previous post, so I used them again. I wanted them to be the focus of the painting, and I think they could’ve been, but I began by painting them pink and it was easy to overwhelm the idea of the flowers with another idea, IE, vases, by simply using a darker color for the vases.

Flowers II 092018 a

I began with the above sketch, but after stepping away for a day, I decided to add to it, which made me rearrange some of the flowers already there.

Flowers II 092018 b

I didn’t have a clear idea of how to paint it after finishing the final sketch. I was still thinking of it in terms of a line drawing, and I liked it as a line drawing.

Flowers II 092018 c

But I stuck to my guns. In my head, I wanted to paint something with a pink and light green contrast, which is what I had in mind for Flowers (090818) in my previous post, which turned out to be pink and blue.

I began by painting in the flowers pink, which made them light and airy, which, again, I really liked. But starting with pink presented some challenges to keeping it light and airy, as well as keeping the flowers the main focus.

I had two ideas: flowers and vases; and what was nice about the line drawing is seeing the two main ideas overlap and compete with each other for attention. To maintain this tension, each idea had to be cohesive; each has its own language, in terms of color range and line flow. The flowers would be limited to pinks and reds, while the vases to shades of green.

Flowers II 092018 f

I was worried the vases would overwhelm the flowers, because it was difficult to find shades of green which weren’t darker than pink. Before painting in the final sections and after erasing the lines left in graphite, I realized I could erase some of the excess paint. I erased as much as I could, to even out how saturated it was.

Flowers II 092018
Flowers II (2018), 18″ x 24,” Water color on paperĀ 

Seeing a digital copy of the painting, I’m glad I went ahead with applying dark green and green-blue. I think I drew more flowers than I needed to and they definitely overwhelm the vases, or the vases barely compete well enough. Before finishing the final sketch, I was tempted to even fill the whole surface with flowers, so I could let some of the negative space work as positive space, which was something I could’ve done, again, in my previous post.

It’s definitely not as light and airy as I wanted it to be, which is due in part to how clumsy I am with a brush. I think I’m getting better, though.

For different shades of pink and green, I applied one color on the surface, and after waiting for it to dry, I applied another color, so after two applications, sometimes after only one, it would look a bit cakey, especially the sections that look purple. I applied a bright blue or bright blue + dark blue before applying the pink on top. I had to make sure it looked like it was supposed to be pink, so you could see the flowers as objects that had overlap with other objects, as opposed to flowers that were cut off by other objects, because if you only saw a part of each flower, you might not know they were flowers, as they were abstractly drawn.


Water color paper (Strathmore 400)

Water colors (Roel, Acuarelas Italianas)



Here’s another drawing in water color. I figured everything out, except the colors, in pencil. The images below have been altered to make the lines show up more. They were actually much lighter. The second (right) image includes lines I used to fix the lopsidedness of the vase.

Originally, I wanted to paint everything in pink and light green, to experiment with contrasting colors. But painting the vase blue just seemed like a better idea, even though I’d already painted the inside of the flowers and certain sections (what is now the darkest shade of blue) of the vase a light green, which would’ve conveyed the idea of stems, but I would’ve had reds, blues and greens, which was too much variety in color than I liked. I decided to paint over the greens in red or blue, which made the idea of “flower vs vase” more focused.

Small note on the materials. I used water color paper again, which (I should know by now) isn’t invincible. I erased some lines multiple times and scratched up certain areas more than others, so that these areas absorbed paint more readily. If the surface was intact, the color would go on evenly, and if I wanted to I would be able to wash most of the paint away with some water.

I wanted to do some last-minute editing and paint right up to the line within the section that’s to the left of the circle inside the vase. When I applied the paint, it went on too dark and wouldn’t wash away, so to even out the color of that section, I applied more paint to the entire section, and now it looks darker than it was before and looks like another shade of blue.

I also ran into problems with finishing it at all. I wanted to express the flow of the lines as contours of shapes and not lines, as I had with the drawing for the previous post. I have one line (the stem of the flower which droops below the top flower), which stands out as a line.

I’m also tempted to color in the two circles at the centers of the top flowers, but I think choosing a color besides that of the background would throw off the balance of the color scheme. On the other hand, choosing to not paint it a different color makes the background color (white) interact with the other colors more, calling attention to it as a part of the color scheme and as negative space, which gives shape to the negative space, or it begins to.

I either give more presence to the centers of the flowers, which add to the theme of circles and seems to compete too much with the vase, or introduce the beginning of an idea (giving shape to the negative space) that could’ve been more fully realized. Either way, it looks unfinished.


Water color paper (Strathmore 400)

Water colors (Roel, Acuarelas Italianas)



Sorry for such a long break. Eh… life.

I’ve been pulling some things out of the works-in-progress pile.


While on “break,” I found myself doodling or doing someĀ “automatic drawing” (above). It reminded me of something I drew in 2011 (below), which I really like but have not been able to use. It just seems like a detail of something else, but I have no idea of what that can be.


The flowers (below) were drawn in another style. Please ignore the creepy looking girl overwhelming… everything. I’d drawn the flowers and again didn’t know what to do with them, so I impulsively drew a face and then hair because… well, I don’t know why.


I’ve since redrawn the flowers…


I made a carbon copy of the original and redrew them onto a larger surface and then added more of them. I think it’ll serve as a context for something else… ?

Illustration vs Fine Art

I think the above are closer to illustrations than “fine art,” which makes sense because when I was drawing the original, Art Nouveau was really on my mind. Not that the movement didn’t produce fine art. Only, when I think of the Art Nouveau, I think of how they applied the beauty of what you might see in a frame on the wall (like a caged bird) and freed it into one’s living space, an object we sit, eat on or drink from. Unfortunately, it’s easy to let one’s ambitions fall short and produce something less “fine” and more “decorative.”

But what’s the difference between “fine” and “decorative?” Yes, there is the quality of the line and other elements of the form of a given piece, but I think an artist has to be careful of becoming formulaic, by recycling old “moves” so that it’s like the same song being played over and over again. It becomes a language from which there’s only so much meaning that’s being expressed.

I know one word can mean a variety of things; EG, some choice four letter words. But the variety comes from how you use them. Getting back to a “good” line… (1) It should have “good” form, and (2) lines and/or other elements should be useful to a greater context and/or better yet it should play off of other elements similar and/or different from itself.

Not sure if I’m there yet… Choices, choices… Of course, ambition can also kill an idea because an artist simply wants it to promise more than what it could be…

To be continued…