Grace Rose #1

My friend Linda asked for gift ideas for her Grandmother, Grace (who is 💯!) I offered to paint something, and she agreed to let me take a swing at a painting of a Peace Rose that Linda has in her yard from her Grandmother. 

I was intimidated by the photo for a few reasons: 

1) I have never been able to draw a rose. Something about the way the petals wrap around each other and unfurl at the same time, it’s one of those things I never seem to be able to get right. 

2) The rose was mostly yellow. I haven’t painted much with yellow yet because I’m intimidated by it. The color is so unique, and so quickly shifts to orange and green, I was worried about getting shadows without turning the whole rose into a Frankenstein colored mess of petals.

3) I have never painted a flower before. Flowers are so delicate, and the petals so thin, I wanted to try to convey the light mass of the petals, but wasn’t sure how to do that.

I started by printing the photo, then altering it to black and white with heavy contrast and printed that. Then, I traced the black and white rose on tracing paper to get a feel for the value structure. I did this a couple of times, trying very deep shadows, very light shadows etc to see what would best represent the rose. It turned out that I would need some very deep shadows to convey the depth of the rose, but very light shadows elsewhere to keep the petals from looking like they were made of concrete.

Then, I sketched the rose free hand on my paper, trying to pay close attention to the values I had decided on. It took a bit of erasing, because I kept losing myself in details. I finally decided to just sketch the highest contrast values, and figured on painting the details.

Unfortunately, I was a little heavy with the pencil, and some lines are still visible. 

After I sketched, I layed down the primary washes, leaving a few areas completely bare in order to give my highlights a lot of room. I knew I would need to blend the yellow into the whites, so I kept the primary washes away from the bright yellows, figuring I could feather the pigment into those areas as I worked on glazing.

After that dried, I glazed in some of the shadows relying almost entirely on quin rose to make shadows (the yellow was hansa yellow.)

The outer petals are red at the edges, so there I used quin rose again at a deeper value, and used quin purple to shadow the red.

After the second glaze, I erased my pencil lines, and removed the masking fluid. I knew I was done with the big washes so I could remove the masking fluid because I would be using a detail brush from then on. This also allowed me to soften the hard edges created by the masking fluid as I layered more pigment down.

One thing I really liked was the ability to glaze quickly without much fear of painting into semi-dry areas. Because the painting consists of a lot of small shapes, I could glaze one petal, then move to the other side of the painting and glaze there while the first one dried. By the time I glazed the fourth or fifth petal, the first was dry enough that I could paint its neighbor without fear over overrun.

When I was finished with glazing the yellows, reds, and purples, I decided to go into some of the areas where there wasn’t enough contrast with a strong thin line of a convenience violet I made. Those tiny lines really added a lot of depth, and I could easily have gone overboard on those. Fortunately, I had to run to the grocery store before Winnie and Norah’s birthday party, so I stopped, and found that was a good place to quit.

So, there. My first flower.

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