the angels..


            Here are my little angels all done…. I`ve let the water area be for now, I want to add some greens and rose petals instead of the muddy water in the pic. This is going to be a challenging painting to do…. the foreground area has cool tones whereas the background has warm colors in the roses. By having this strong contrast and details in the foreground, I`m hoping to push this layer to the front. Making the yellow in the roses duller would push them further away……… but I really don`t want to do that….what are flowers without their colors?


         The hair locks and cheek area (left angel) have their shadows strengthened. Dark values for eyebrows and lips.


                 The right angel has its entire face in shadow, this pale wash will be the color for the highlights. 


                 The mouth of the pot at the  right will be in shadow. The top of the wing will also be in shadow because it forms a hollow shape. Started defining shadows in the rocks at the base. 


                  The stone structure behind the bottom most pot will have a very dark value as this area has to be pushed back. The inside of the pot at the right also has a very dark value. Added cast shadows.


Ode to Summer – Rose garden


             Come summer and every  shrub, plant and tree seems to be blooming (wish this season would never end) but roses attract our attention almost exclusively….. so after two weeks of composition and drawing, I`ve my very own rose garden to paint. I`ve also included these adorable looking angel statues; the roses are from several other photos carefully woven together and around the statues so that they look like this place actually exists. The foreground roses grow along a wall perpendicular to the plane of the statues, then turn around perpendicular again so that there is another plane behind the statues (bg) along which grow roses again and purple clematis.

            Its really worthwhile taking the time to get the drawing accurate so that you save a headache later on while painting, a little bit off on the faces and the effect of the painting can well be ruined. I`ve started painting the angels and they have been a lot of fun, its on CP paper, and it takes washes well, I wanted a bit of tooth so that I get some texture for the stone. … These angels… Can you guess their age? (a special angel age?) Their control of body movements suggest to way older than toodlers but they look more like babies. Babies have heads that are large in proportion to their bodies (their eyes too appear huge in their faces(because of their large eyeballs), maybe to make their “Oh! wont you please pick me up” look, work better!), these proportions are sometimes used in paintings and sculptures of little children to make them look more pleasing to the eye.

           In this base wash, I`ve put in a very pale wash of Hansa yellow medium over the entire structure, except where the water is going to be. Its a nice sunny day and I want the sunlit areas to be warm.


                     I`ve started putting in the  first washes here with a mix of DS hansa yellow medium, MB rose lake and S cobalt blue tone (this has some sedimentary properties). Pushing the mix to a violet-grey or a blue-grey instead of a complete grey ensures that they don`t end up looking too drab.For the chest area (left hand statue), make a clear water wash extending to the shoulder but not in the arm region (so that a hard edge forms there), drop in light shadows (the light falls from the right hand side). In watercolor, you always paint from light to dark, but sometimes I like to put in some shadows (like in the wing) because it makes it easier to see what middle values are missing. How beautifully the statues emerge from the stone that is at the base…. Soft edges behind the leg region sets the thigh apart from the rest of the stone. The right hand angel is mostly in shadow, the stomach protrudes, so a highlight there…..


                  Stronger shadows in the wing, shadows beneath the locks of hair. The back of the head is in shadow. 


               Shadow at the left hand side of the face.., the shape of this shadow is very important. It defines the features. The cheekbone catches the light, the eye socket is in shadow. Keep limbs nice and rounded. Wet in wet washes give the appearance of smooth stone like marble but you can try wet on dry (maybe a bit of salt) for a grainier texture.

Choosing your colors – Color Wheels


            I find that a combination of alternate study and pratice is very effective when you are learning something. When you practice (paint), you come across some things that you donot understand and they are like small tensions in your mind, later you stop practicing and do some study ,research like going through art books or observing nature or doing little exercises such as value or color mixing charts for example, you open up your mind and let new things flow in and you will start stumbling upon the answers to what ever blocks you might have had….more research than required and you might end up whiling away your time! Back to practicing then…..

           I`ve made these color wheels with some of the colors that I have just so that I can see at a glance the mixes that are produced and not so much to use them as palette on their own:


                     In the RYB color model, the three primaries are Red, Yellow and Blue which when mixed in pairs make the three secondaries:

 Orange (red and yellow),

 Green (yellow and blue) and

 Violet (blue and red).

         These secondaries, then mixed with the primaries form the tertiary colors –

Red- Orange (Red mixed with Orange)

Yellow-Orange (Yellow mixed with Orange)

Yellow-Green (Yellow mixed with Green)

Blue-Green (Blue mixed with Green)

Blue-Violet (Blue mixed with Violet) and

Red-Violet (Red mixed with Violet)

           The more modern color theory proves that you get better mixes with the CYM model (refer to the 4th color wheel) where the three primaries are Cyan, Yellow and Magenta which when mixed in pairs result in the three secondaries:

Red-Orange (Magenta and Yellow)

Green (Cyan and Yellow)

Blue-Violet (Magenta and Cyan)

        These secondaries, when mixed with the primaries form the tertiary colors –

Red (Magenta mixed with Red Orange)

Yellow-Orange (Yellow mixed with Red Orange)

Yellow-Green (Yellow mixed with Green)

Blue-Green (Blue mixed with Green)

Blue (Cyan mixed with Blue-Violet) and

Violet (Magenta mixed with Blue-Violet)

             When you buy your paints, choose according to what pigments the paint contains rather than accoding to the name of the paint. The pigment name is indicative of a particular hue and not its marketing name. For e.g, The red in color wheel 1 is named ruby red by Schminke which has a pigment PV 19 (gamma quinacridone). The red in color wheel 5 is also PV 19 but is named Rose Lake by its manufacturer MaimeriBlu. Sometimes there might be a difference in hue between two paints even when the pigment in them is the same depending upon how it is manufactured. Paints that contain more than two pigments might result in muddy mixes.             

           To make clear mixes, you should mix those colors that already have the resulting color in them. For e.g if you want a clean violet, choose a warm blue like ultramarine blue (which already has a bit of violet in it) and a cool red like ruby red (which also has a bit of violet in it). To make a clean orange, choose a warm red like winsor red (which has orange) and a warm yellow. For foliage, you donot need clean green mixes, they would look artificial (for e.g DS Hansa Yellow Medium and MG Pthalo blue) and you would have to dull them down with a red.

           Even if you`re careful with your mixes, the secondary colors that you get by mixing these primaries will not have a high chroma, i.e they will not be as intense as the secondaries that you can get from the tube. Usually this might not be so important, like in a landscape scene for example but if you`re painting flowers, you do need those saturated colors.

        To make the color wheels, draw a few circles each with 12 equal spokes. Paint your three primaries so that there are three empty spokes in between the pairs.  The middle spoke in these three empty spokes is filled with the secondary color and the ones on either side of it have the tertiaries. Fill your brush with a nice and juicy almost full- valued color and paint a band at the widest part of the spoke. Dip the tip of the brush in clear water and paint this diluted color as a band in the middle area, stroke upwards gently to blend the two bands so that there is a gradation of values. Rinse the brush till almost completely clear and paint this pale tint from the narrowest part at the bottom and blend upwards. If you have this gradation from the full bodied color to its palest tint, it would be useful later on when you are painting to compare colors. It can be surprisingly difficult to distinguish between adjacent colors especially when they are very pale tints.

                This first wheel has S ruby red, DS new gamboge and MG Phthalo blue. It is quite a strong palette and I use this often.  Ruby red is cool, it is actually a magenta and has some blue in it. This mixed with new gamboge which is a very warm yellow makes a not very saturated orange. But these RO,O and YO are still interesting and I add another secondary color Schminke translucent orange to brighten these mixes if required. Since the blue is cool (has some yellow in it), the resulting violets are also not that saturated, I would add a mauve or a purple from the tube to these mixes. A warm red would be another useful additional color if you`re painting red flowers. The yellow and blue make great greens however. This warm yellow has some red in it, so these greens are toned down and are perfect for foliage. 


             In the second color wheel, the warm winsor red and winsor yellow (neither warm nor cool) make beautiful oranges. But both the winsor red and phthalo blue donot have violet in it, so the the resulting mixes are neutrals rather than violets. The greens are good. I would choose an additional cool red and warm blue. In fact, you can make a color wheel like this, where you have both warm and cool primaries (placed side by side) where you`ll always have clean mixes. Clockwise direction > A cool red next to a warm red which is mixed with a warm yellow placed next to a cool yellow which is mixed with a cool blue placed next to a warm blue which is mixed with the warm red.


               The same is the case with the third color wheel, beautiful oranges but neutrals on the violet side. DS prussian blue is a bit opaque but gives interesting dark valued shadow greens. 


                This fourth color wheel has beautiful clear mixes throughtout. Very close to the CYM color model. The primary is a magenta, so the secondary color is a blue violet, that mixed with the magenta gives the tertiary color violet. The primary hue, Cyan, mixed with BV gives blue! Magenta mixed with RO (secondary, here) gives red! You would probably need an additional warm red here, though.



                  This fifth wheel has the best mixes. Even though the rose lake is quite cool, the orange is still quite saturated. The warm blue makes clean violets. These three primaries would be sufficient for a painting.


               The ultramarine blue in this sixth wheel is the warmest of the blues here but does not make too great violets mixed with S permanent Karmin.  The lemon yellow is the coolest of all the yellows here. The greens have texture to them beacause of the ultramarine blue which is sedimentary.

finished painting – spring blooms


  Here is my painting completed along with a couple of crops below it:




        Here I`ve started on the background, just working my way on small bits around the foreground elements. There is an evergreen tree behind the lilac plant on the left hand side, so I`ve let some texture form there. Apart from the darker value, this texture is what separates the bg from the fg leaves.


        For the stems and branches, I`ve used perylene maroon with a touch of the dark mix of the leaves. The shadow side will have a darker mix but instead of a straight line, if you make irregular horiontal strokes, it gives the impression of bumps and rough texture of the bark.


             These birds are Feldsperling (German sparrow or Eurasian tree sparrow), they like the country side and feed mostly on seeds.. (but I`ve spotted them many times around Mc Donalds!) Wet on wet washes give these the fluffy appearance. The fence takes a bit of dry brush work after a very pale wet in wet wash of some neutral colors. For the iron nail, use perylene maroon with a bit of yellow and a bit of indigo. With a damp brush lightly bring the color down to make a rust streak.