View Full Version : My first peonies blooming... WIP

05-05-2015, 04:20 AM

first: this is not a real WIP as I was so thrilled about drawing and painting I forgot to make any snapshots until now when I started doubting... So here my next pastel exercise using a wonderful photo reference of my own. I never thought I would have the nerves to draw all those petals :D

This is unfinished, on white Pastelmat 12x15,5"


I will still refine the big flower with some violet/blue shades, and the round bud (they look so cute, don't they?). Thought I would leave the smaller flowers more blurred. Suddenly I started doubting about the flower on the lower right corner... the composition might work better without it, would it? I feel now it destroys the dynamic. What would you do? I know, it's my decision, yet now I need some more eyes for this :)

When the flowers are done I'll variegate the greens here and there, they do look a bit of... boring?

C&C welcome, as always!

05-05-2015, 05:39 AM
That large peony is SO perfect! I love the composition and think you do need that peony on the bottom right. It serves to balance the composition. I think MAYBE I'd like to see it enlarged just a little, and made a little more pink and detailed. Only a few lines, though, and a hint of pink. But please don't change a thing based on my recommendation unless you feel it is necessary. This is a beautiful composition, and nearly complete as it is, so go with your intuition of what little more needs to be done.

05-05-2015, 09:33 AM
This is really looking nice. the first peonies of the season are most appreciated.

I'm not sure I'd remove the bottom right flower, maybe try greying it back a little and see if you like it better before you remove it.

I have found pastelmat to be great for details, I think it works well with all the petals.

Donna T
05-05-2015, 10:30 AM

Beautiful peonies, Raxu! I hope you don't mind that I cropped out the background so we could see the painting better. I agree that the flower on the lower right needs to stay - there would be a large area of no interest if it wasn't there. If it feels too prominent you could always push it back with a few more leaves on top. The big flower is gorgeous - pink and ruffled!

water girl
05-05-2015, 12:24 PM
Everyone agrees that the lower right flowers should remain. One suggestion would be to darken the value quite a bit. As it is, the value is very light and my attention is drawn away from the star of the painting, the large, detailed flower. The same may be true of the lower left flower. Keeping the edges of those flowers soft will help. The main flower is coming along beautifully. You are so very close to finishing this, I'm looking forward to the finale.

05-05-2015, 01:39 PM
Blayne, DBfarmgirl, Donna and Karen - you are so helpful, thousand hugs :heart:

So this is the status quo at the moment....

I think the flower bottom right is too white, how do you see it? Anything else?
What I see is a kind of cool palette, I have a tendency to use them (my favourites being turquoises, blues and blue grays...). I understand though, this is not a very sunny painting - yet I think the unity works. You may disagree !

water girl
05-05-2015, 02:19 PM
You have worked out the problems with the lower right and left flowers. You darkened the value and used very soft details. Your main flower is now the one with the greatest detail and draws our attention. Don't forget to sign this one...before you mat and frame it.

05-05-2015, 07:26 PM
I love the blues and the color unity in this! The lighting is perfect--no sunshine needed. (In my neck of the woods, it invariably comes a heavy rain when the peonies bloom, causing them to hang heavily to the ground and lose petals--so filtered light from a cloudy day is quite the norm!)

I think you could call this finished and be quite proud of yourself! If that flower on the right is bothering you, perhaps it is because it has gone a bit peachy. Its warm, yellow/peach color may be the problem. Since you want it to recede, perhaps cool it down with white? And then add just a few magenta touches to show the depth and curl of the petals?

It's a gorgeous painting that I'd be proud to hang in my home!

05-05-2015, 09:28 PM
Beautiful! If you want to reduce the importance of the smaller flower on lower right, you could cast a shadow across it with a violet cast clean blue and deepen its pinks in the shadow. It'll still read as pinkish white. If the shadow's over part of it, a slice of light can be turned into a pointer leading toward the big one into the painting.

But I think it's lovely just picked out and detailed, it leads back nto the rest. It makes a nice balance. Love how this is turning out!

05-06-2015, 04:50 AM
Karen, Blayne and Robert - I truly appreciate your feedback, advice and encouragement :heart:

Robert, I found your advice about shadowing the bottom right flower partly - maybe not exactly as your vision was, yet I got the clue. Now I think this works!


Karen, I did sign it yet it's hardly visible in ligh rose... Should try to change white signature

I regard this as finished now because I know myself - anything I might add now will only make it worse.

Thank you all for following me on my path :)

05-06-2015, 05:08 AM
Robert's suggestion was brilliant! Those touches of violet are beautiful, and that flower no longer looks peachy warm but now fits in better with the overall color scheme. Beautiful finish!

05-06-2015, 11:50 AM
Blayne, thanks again! Yes, Robert knows what he is saying, very helpful and clever!
By the way, I already sold this - originally this was supposed to be in my next exhibition in July... I posted it on my page with FB and in less than half an hour from publishing it was gone. I'm still amazed!

Donna T
05-06-2015, 05:17 PM
Beautiful finish - and congrats on the sale!!

05-07-2015, 08:03 AM
Thank you Donna - without the kind assistance here it could have ended worse...

05-08-2015, 10:08 AM
Raxu, I'm late to the party but I'm so glad to see the finished painting. I love this thread. Great learning in here for me. Thank you for sharing. And congratulations on the sale of the painting!!

05-08-2015, 11:23 AM
Congratulations, raxu! :)

05-09-2015, 01:07 AM
Jay and Nick - thank you so much, I am happy as well. Pastels are so new to me, and I learn important lesson with each painting :) This is FUN!