Newest Work in Progress


When I painted "On the Brink..." I didn't realize how much I'd love painting large watercolors. I may never go back to small watercolor paintings again! This new piece, "Sisters" consists of seven mini mums in various states of bloom. It measures 20x25" on Arches 300lb hot press paper.


My paints are a mix of Schmincke Horadam, Winsor & Newton, and Daniel Smith. The finished piece will have a gold border similar to the one in "On the Brink..." but I haven't decided yet on what to use. I have the option of classic 23 kt gold leaf, which is what I'm used to using, or a new acquisition: Schmincke Aqua Bronze in Rich Gold. It's a powder that lays down a lovely gold sheen, but I haven't quite figured out how to use it.


The first two blooms are completely done, although I still have to work on the sepals and stems, but for now I want to focus on the petals. I haven't even fully figured out what the background will look like, but I'm not too worried - it'll come together. Four of the blooms reach out beyond the gold border and range from not fully opened to beginning to wilt. When I took the photo I was immediately struck by these different phases of blooming, and it reminded me of sisters who can be so different, grow in such different directions, and yet be bound by common roots and similar appearance.


There are two technical aspects I'm particularly enjoying with this piece:

Layering the reds, yellows, and oranges to achieve such depth of color - in particular, on the half-open reddish bloom, you can detect lots of oranges and yellows.

• Inherent Light, which is different from luminosity. Luminosity is based on value and can be measured. Inherent light is a visual quality that depends on relative saturation and context.* If you squint at something that has luminosity, you can still make out all the different shapes because they differ by lightness and darkness. If you squint at something that has inherent light, the value, regardless of color, is the same, so everything blends into one big shape. You can see this in the larger bloom: some petals cast shadows onto other petals, but those shadows are still vivid and saturated.


*Check out Color: A Workshop for Artists and Designers by David Hornung. I rely heavily on his text for teaching, and it has a wonderful illustrated glossary at the end.

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