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robertsloan2
05-17-2015, 10:06 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-May-2015/70184-5-17-2015_Irises_Pastel_stage_1.jpg
Spring Irises (WIP stage 1)
8" x 10" portrait
Holbein pastels on cream color Canson Mi-Tientes Touch
from my own photo posted in Pastel Spotlight May 2015

First step in a looser, interpretive style after Margaret Evans. Not worrying too much about color because don't have the palette to match the violet, more want to capture the feel of these big fat irises. Will be fooling with magenta, a purple that might be too light and this violet cast blue that's the right value to see what I get. That reddish stuff in lower left is soil that'll be muted down to more of a brown later.

Here's the photo too:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-May-2015/70184-5-2015_Irises.jpg

So this is where I'm going with it. Started out just blocking in and laying it out, will be layering and not trying for heavy coverage till I get a better sense of how it's going. Final layer will possibly be in softer pastels for lush impasto strokes.

water girl
05-17-2015, 10:45 PM
Great start. Robert. How does the Touch compare to other papers?

Blayne
05-18-2015, 06:56 AM
Very nice, Robert! I've had such gorgeous irises this spring and feel bad that I've neglected painting them. Your reddish brown soil doesn't bother me at all and instead reminds me of Van Gogh's iris paintings. He tended to use a dark orange for the soil.

robertsloan2
05-18-2015, 03:12 PM
Purr thank you both! Blayne, thanks for that. I was tempted to just work over the background and focus on the flowers, but I'll keep it thanks to your comment. Karen, M-T Touch is very similar to Art Spectrum Colourfix but comes in fewer colors. Not exact matches for the Colourfix colors though so if you like colored sanded grounds, Touch with Colourfix provides a wider number of choices for ground color.

The rusty-orange soil comes from that being the only brown in the box, constraint of a limited palette. That can give interesting results. I've lived in places with red mud before, more than once, so it does look natural to me.

DFGray
05-18-2015, 03:29 PM
composition looks solid

raxu
05-19-2015, 03:28 AM
Looking forward to the next step Robert :)

lanaballot
05-19-2015, 01:09 PM
Hi Robert!
These are beautiful! I love this initial drawing, the line work is so graceful - I almost don't want it to be covered by the subsequent layers, but I'm sure the painting will be even better :)

robertsloan2
05-20-2015, 01:06 AM
Wow, thank you! I hit an ugly stage, but the next might clean it up. Drastic temptations like shoveling all hte vegetation into a blur or some such. We'll see how I feel after a day or two looking at it.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-May-2015/70184-5-19-2015_Iris_Stage_2.jpg
Iris Stage 2
8" x 10"
Holbein pastels on Canson Touch
My photo and memory.

Often with the ugly stage it snaps and looks good on reworking. Hue-value problems on the vegetation, got the dirt dark enough but leaves too light.

Still-trying
05-20-2015, 09:50 AM
I love watching this come alive

Bethany_Fields
05-22-2015, 10:25 AM
I do love your WIP Robert! :) And using those bold and luscious purples and violets is always a treat! :)

robertsloan2
05-24-2015, 12:23 PM
Purr thank you! I'm still working on some compositional problems, one is disconnected spotty darks down in the lower left and another is just generally too much contrast right by the left side. I'll need to play with the leaves for that and maybe make them looser, less defined. For that softer pastels will help.

Looking at the photo, I can eliminate that leaf that crosses the stems and the other one, just keep the dark soil connected with hte flower shapes optically and variegate it, then pick up the plant at upper left and make that a little looser but keep it distinct to point inward and frame the flowers.

Still-trying
05-24-2015, 12:42 PM
Left you a message in the Spot.

Mettaphorica
05-24-2015, 04:05 PM
I too enjoy watching you work. Glad that the 'ugly stage' is not just something I suffer! Also enjoy your 'thinking out aloud' about the process and what is working and what is not. Looking forward to see how these turn out. Am curious, no colorist approach?

Nick7
05-24-2015, 04:12 PM
Rob, you have a strange idea about what is ugly :D
I love your WIPs :)

robertsloan2
05-24-2015, 10:49 PM
Thanks! Mettaphorica, while I'm always influenced by my understanding of color, sometimes I start from more of a tonalist focus. Lights and darks. I don't necessarily play with th color layering that creates that jewel brilliance, as sometimes I like different effects. Or looser ones. The first layer of this almost could have stood by itself. I liked it a lot and could have let it go as was, but had some stains on the paper and decided to work farther in more of a Margaret Evans way. Then I got the flowers way too heavy for that and too blended, they need fresh texture strokes and the background needs to be harmonized with them.

So that left me committed to working it farther. I will get it and probably re-texture the greenery a lot, whle getting rid of some leaves and some darks that ran up into the leaves. More work will go into the background, more detail into the irises. Maybe a final sparkling layer of visible unblended strokes to make them shine.

I've spent today charting my new Great American 60 Plein Air (original) assortment and the colors are perfect for this - especially the rich but slightly less saturated greens and the great variety of purple values. This will work well when I do it. I just needed to sketch some other things and step away enough to understand the next layer when it's not as obvious as a colorist painting's last layers would be!

jackiesimmonds
05-26-2015, 07:34 AM
Robert, you have a fundamental problem to deal with here.

It's a sunny day but the flowers were photographed in the shade. So, there is little in the way of a "range" of tones to help you sort out the 3D quality of those petals and the construction of the flower head. You can be loose - but the drawing still needs to make sense. Tones are hard to capture here.... You need to be very careful of the tone of the light "strip" on the petal..it is nowhere near as light as you have it.

It's not a particularly good photo to work from, frankly, because of the lack of contrasts in the petals and also given that generally, Iris flowers stand tall and proud, and don't lean in the way these are leaning so that you are having to paint their stems angling quite dramatically.

Look at this picture of an Iris lit rather nicely so that there is variety in the tones:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-May-2015/1805-iris_head.jpg

And I recommend you look at Van Gogh's Iris picture. He is less concerned about directional light, instead, he exaggerates their wonderful, individual shapes.
https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/asset-viewer/irises/DgFVFAJo_30MeQ?utm_source=google&utm_medium=kp&hl=en-GB&projectId=art-project

Mettaphorica
05-26-2015, 07:47 PM
Thanks for the explanation. I see what you mean about the first layer looking quite good but then going further and having to commit to a heavier look. I'm trying to unlearn that, but I put it down to inexperience in knowing when to lay off and when to keep working. Only 7 more years to go before I reach the purported magical 10,000 hours, sigh.

Also hope Jackie's comments help, she's right about the photo. I still like to see how you end up with this one.
cheers
Donna

Thanks! Mettaphorica, while I'm always influenced by my understanding of color, sometimes I start from more of a tonalist focus. Lights and darks. I don't necessarily play with th color layering that creates that jewel brilliance, as sometimes I like different effects. Or looser ones. The first layer of this almost could have stood by itself. I liked it a lot and could have let it go as was, but had some stains on the paper and decided to work farther in more of a Margaret Evans way. Then I got the flowers way too heavy for that and too blended, they need fresh texture strokes and the background needs to be harmonized with them.

So that left me committed to working it farther. I will get it and probably re-texture the greenery a lot, whle getting rid of some leaves and some darks that ran up into the leaves. More work will go into the background, more detail into the irises. Maybe a final sparkling layer of visible unblended strokes to make them shine.

I've spent today charting my new Great American 60 Plein Air (original) assortment and the colors are perfect for this - especially the rich but slightly less saturated greens and the great variety of purple values. This will work well when I do it. I just needed to sketch some other things and step away enough to understand the next layer when it's not as obvious as a colorist painting's last layers would be!

robertsloan2
05-27-2015, 10:36 PM
Jackie, you're right and I love your photo. I finished up today and will definitely be paying more attention to that in the next one. I think I sort of followed your point intuitively to get to ths finish since I wound up just playing with the shapes and accenting it. Although, one thing that drew me to that photo and those flowers were that they weren't standing proud. They'd fallen over and hadn't given up, matters a lot to me. I put them on one stem in the changes rather than two to simplify that.

If that's your photo, may I please paint from it? The shapes are very prominent in it! I have some other iris photos too that I recently got from my daughter and some from my clinic garden, just always fascinated by irises. This won't be my last at all!

Donna, it took days of standing back and thinking it through but I managed to get back some of the loose roughness I loved in the first sketch. Enough for me to be happy with it. The answer was in using softer pastels in the last session and then erasing out and working back over some of the things that bugged me in the background. Now they do look like they're leaning out under the weight of the blooms and became dimensional again!

I love irises and will have to do more and more of them!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-May-2015/70184-5-27-2015_Two_Spring_Irises_Complete.jpg
Two Spring Irises
8" x 10" portrait
Holbein and Great American pastels
Cream color Canson Touch sanded pastel paper
Photo reference my own posted in May 2015 Pastel Spotlight.

raxu
05-28-2015, 02:32 AM
Robert, this is such an interesting thread, you write as good as paint :)

robertsloan2
05-28-2015, 10:24 AM
Thank you!

jackiesimmonds
05-29-2015, 05:36 PM
It is not my photo I am afraid, just one I found on google but there was no sign of anything saying it was protected....I reckon if you want to paint from it, for yourself, there is no reason not to do so.

You will learn about the flowers by doing so, and can then use that information in the future.

Your "finish" is much better, I would just encourage you to "cool down" that orangey earth, which to my eye, is coming too forward because of its warmth. Or better still, make it foliage instead of earth, I think the green against the Iris colours is particularly nice.

robertsloan2
05-29-2015, 10:01 PM
That's a thought! I'll keep it hanging for a while and look at it while I decide what to do. Thanks!