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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Studying + Experimenting = Bluebells


"Bluebells"
4x6, Watercolor

I mentioned in my last post that I've been doing a lot of experimenting with both technique and color. My practice sheets look like someone painted them who was under the influence (I assure you I was not... honestly!). After intently reading (and re-reading) both Glorious Garden Flowers in Watercolor by Susan Harrison-Tustain, and Paint Watercolors That Dance With Light by Elizabeth Kincaid, I wanted to put some of the things I've been working on into one painting. I elected to do a small study because I didn't want a lot of time tied up in the painting... it was just for practice and I didn't want to feel that I had to turn out a "finished painting".

Pictured is the resulting study, "Bluebells". The techniques I was practicing in this study are: getting a handle on smoothly glazing multiple layers; using those layers of glazed color to mix secondary and tertiary colors optically instead of premixing on the palette; and some practice for dark, out of focus backgrounds. Oh, and the thing that has been pretty much eluding me.... saving that doggone white space!

I managed to overwork a few parts (old habits don't die easily) but not too much. This was a great learning experience. I'm finding out that what works for me is to closely study a new technique, try it out multiple times on throw-away practice sheets until I begin to get a feel for it, then tie it together by using the new technique in a small, no-pressure painting.

23 comments:

Pat said...

that's a lovely little piece!

I too find that practising on pieces I have no attachment to does wonders for my technique in a full size worked up painting! xx

Ann said...

This is gorgeous! The light hitting those blossoms is perfect, as is the contrast with that rich, dark background. Your method of studying is really working well, I'd say!

Jill Berry said...

Nice intimate view!
It has a relaxed feeling too.

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Beautiful, Teresa! I agree that your method of study is working nicely. I enjoy hearing how you practice and what you were trying to do in the paintings you share.

Candy said...

Teresa, this is so pretty - lovely, rich colors and definite success in saving the "doggone white space"!

Gillian said...

I adore small paintings anyway but this is excellent - you seem to have achieved your goal very well.

Keith said...

Gorgeous work. The light on that top petal is exquisite. Ten thumbs up.

knittingdragonflies said...

Wow! I really like this! I can see all of the different shades, and it really gives the flowers depth.
Vicki

Laure Ferlita said...

So fun to see your studies and this does seem to be quite the success despite the "overworked" spots that I could not identify!

Bravo to you for practicing what you're studying—how many of us just read and then put the book down and go back to the way we've always done it!

laura said...

Teresa--this is plain stunning! I love, to begin with, the composition. The whites you've left are beautiful, as is the light purple; and the background's dark and interesting but not overwhelming.
For a practice piece, this is divine!
I'll have to get those books you've been studying!

Jo Castillo said...

Teresa, this is just lovely. You are a great study. :) I love your palette and you seem to have captured a great background. Congrats!

Cathy Gatland said...

I'm with Laura in saying stunning, Teresa! What a gorgeous painting full of light, shade and interest. Your approach to learning technique really makes sense - a good example to follow!

padmaja said...

You seem to be nearing perfection! wise decision to select a portion of a bigger picture to tackle,, the glaze look really deep and nice.

acornmoon said...

It looks lovely. I am not sure that I understand your technique, something I never learnt myself, but your results are good. I don't think I have ever used a glaze I am ashamed to say!

Cathyann said...

Such a lovely, blue cool gem, Teresa!

Carol said...

Very nice! I own both of those books & love them! I'm your new follower!

meera said...

What a beautiful composition :) -- this definitely more than a study !!!

Jan said...

This painting could (and does) stand on its own - phooey on it being a practice piece! And that background is gorgeous!

Gary Keimig said...

your experimentation is paying off, Teresa. I see great improvement and a new quality to what you are doing. Sorry for the heat and humidity. finally got up to 83 here but in 30's night. Dryer now. Need some rain[snow]

Simone said...

No pressure painting is a good idea! You managed to save your 'white spaces' too!

Michelle said...

Beautiful color and highlights!

Valley Art Project said...

Nice color! How do you get your painting to a jpeg format for your blog? Do you scan it or take a digital photo of it?

Lori Bonanni said...

Hi Teresa, Thank you for visiting my blog! Your watercolors are so full of vibrant color! You've inspired me and I may try watercolor again sometime in the future.

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