View Full Version : Help please!! on my WIP

09-16-2005, 04:21 AM
Hi everybody!!

Firstly, I hope I am posting in the correct forum for advice on a WIP and apologise if it is not!

I am putting on my WIP because I am completely stuck! I used a reference pic from TeAnne so thank you for that. Right, my problem is I just don't know where to go with this next and I am scared of mucking it up. Being self taught - this is always the stage of my work that I get "stuck" in. Any help or advice you can all give me would be really appreciated.

Thank you all in advance.


09-16-2005, 04:36 AM
You certainly are onto the right track here..:) This is going to be a wonderful painting.

I think you need to think about your vlaues now. Where to put your lights and your darks..

Do a greyscale of your ref pic, and your painting, and pump up your painting with values..

Have you read the values classroom thread??? Check in the workshop, there is a stickie with the classrooms..

Always remember when paining your values, keep your lights lights next your darkest darkes for maximum impact..

Hope this helps..

09-16-2005, 05:01 AM
Hi JJ - I have not read the values thread, so will have a look at that today - thank you!

09-16-2005, 05:10 AM
Hi Amanda,

You have a beautiful painting in the works and I can see why you don't want to "muck it up." ;)

JJ's advice is very good. Right now, your values are all pretty much the same so there is nothing to capture the viewer's eye. Decide what you want your Center of Interest to be (I would assume it might be the flower) and focus your attention there as far as most details, greatest contrast (lightest lights against darkest darks), richest tones....then be less intense in the rest of the painting.

The Studio is the right place to do your WIPs and get advice while your work isn't finished. Once you get it done to your satisfaction and feel it is ready for a signature, then you can post the finished painting in the Gallery.


09-16-2005, 05:20 AM
Sylvia - thank you for the advice. I will have to work on this one, I am not sure weather I should be placing more wet in wet washes or wet on dry - this is where I make my mistakes being a "learner" I guess I don't really know what I am doing!! I have spent a fair bit of time on this already I want to do it right. Usually I completely muck up at this stage!!

09-16-2005, 05:52 AM

I know what you mean, I've been messing up a few of mine lately too.

One of our best floral painters, Char, says she takes each petal and treats it like a separate painting. You might approach your Bird of Paradise (BOP) that same way. The lovely orange crown, for example, has lovely variation in the petals so far. Now you want to make some of them look like they are behind others. You might start on the back ones and make them look a little darker tone than the front ones. That is called negative painting, btw, painting around the front petals which will be lighter. Where is your light coming from in the reference? That will affect which petals will be lighter and which will be darker. Once you begin to place those variations in tone in, the COI will begin to emerge. You can still work wet into wet within each petal, but overall the painting will not be wet like it is in the beginning.

You could probably make the background area beneath the flower darker to start with too. That will pop the flower and give weight to the bg.

Take your time and work on it little by little. Remember our adage around the Watercolor Forum: "It's only paper." ;)


09-16-2005, 06:47 AM
Hi Amanda! You've come to the right place for help... and you've really gotten some good advice from JJ and Sylvia...

One thing I do want you to remember, is that each artist will provide help relative to their own approach to a painting... as more artists visit your thread, we'll offer you our own advice and you'll need to sift through all the information we give you and decide what to do...

There are, of course, basic concepts and techniques that never change... and that's kind of where you're at just now... As JJ and Sylvia mentioned, your values are all midtone. You need to establish your light source and then determine your centre of interest.

So... assuming that the colourful bloom is your COI... and that your light is coming from the upper right hand corner, my advice would be:

You should intensify the local colour of each of those petals, blending gently toward the edge that's being lit... generally, that colour furthest from the light will be a little cooler because it's not in direct sunlight...

And Syl is right... I treat each petal as if it were it's own painting... that allows me to think about it's values, light, structure and form... and I tend to exaggerate my lightest lights and darkest darks...

Once you've finished working your leaves, I would push all of them into your background by giving them a blue wash... currently, some of your leaves have yellows in them, which brings them to the foreground... just as you've worked your petals, I would work the leaves... one at a time... that will allow you to really darken some areas that are in deep shadow and maintain the edges that are being struck by your light.

Because I tend to work wet on dry, I really cannot advise you *how* to achieve the above... each artist works a little differently... I can tell you that I generally allow the colour to mingle... For instance, when working my shadows, I'll lay down a shadow colour (say ultramarine violet) and then while it's wet, charge some local colour into it next to the reflecting object so that the pigments will mingle.

You have a terrific composition going here... take your time with it... *rushing* is the enemy of watercolour and we've all learned how to make mud...

If you're not sure of something, practice it on a piece of scrap paper, first... I can't tell you how many times that has saved a painting for me...

Keep going... it's going to finish beautifully!

p.s. One final thought... I like to give my paintings a title before I ever lay down the first wash... Why? It helps me focus on my intent for the painting!

09-16-2005, 08:06 AM
Char - thank you so much for that advice, it really helps. I will definitely practice on scrap paper first and I will read up on values etc before giving it a go.

You are all brilliant - thanks again for the advice.


09-16-2005, 09:03 AM
Amanda............at an recent Ontario meet Cchar gave a class on painting white roses....... lots of folk posted their finished paintings in the gallery here......... they would be well worth looking at to see how others tackled using her method....... and every one of them is a stunner............... Char. ...I dont suppose you hve a list of klnks to them for Amanda??????

BTW this is already beautiful and I feel your fear....... but to move forward you have to be brave !! ;) - sadly I push that to foolhardy too often :D!!!!

Mark G
10-16-2005, 12:01 AM

Take a look at your reference photo and note the light and dark areas. You are on the right track with your painting so far but it all appears to be the same value. Start darkening areas in order to give the painting some depth and contrast. Keep going!!!!


10-16-2005, 12:18 AM
Check out Celestes Thread on Values.. She calls it Adding POP to a painting (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=300788)...

10-16-2005, 12:20 AM
Amanda , You are doing beautifully . Remember , to learn ,you have to have some stinkers now and then. I have done some painting 2 and 3 times over because I thought the subject had merit . So don't be afraid .
I agree with Char and the others . If you want your Flower to Pop , you must subjugate everything else.
You can only have one star on stage.
Hope to see your wonderful finish up , soon .