yellow roses and painting loose style‚Ķ


                 Shade colors for yellow objects are obtained in the same manner as for other colored objects, except   that you would need a very light value of the shade color, as yellow gets dirtied very easily. In flowers, they very often tend towards green because of the light reflected from leaves nearby. A light glaze (over a yellow area) of yellow`s complement, which is purple, will give a shade color that doesn`t tend towards either brown or green. Raw sienna looks like a good shadow color for yellow but I find it makes the area too dull.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Areas where the light hits the object directly (highlights), is not where you would find the most saturated color. The light washes the color out and they are just¬†pale tints of the local color. Some artists like to keep them pure white to keep that sparkle. Areas facing slightly away from the light source have the most saturated color. Here, the roses at the centre of the painting (which are directly in the sun)¬†look so beautiful and vivid with pure yellow half tones and white highlights…¬†¬†

yellow roses

yellow roses


                  These roses are the farthest away from the viewer and I`ve painted them in a loose style. While painting loose, the trick is to think in terms of shapes of the values rather than shapes of the individual elements. Have all your mixes ready and lay in a clear water wash, leaving areas where you want white highlights. Lay in the lightest wash, this can be of different colors. As the wash starts to dry, lay in stronger values. I think it helps to do it when one doesn`t have a lot of time and is rushed, because then you wont go into details! Think in terms of chunks of foliage areas Рlight, dark or mid tone?


                I`ve changed the pink roses to yellow-orange, kept the purple clematis though, they give a bit of contrast to the yellow roses. S translucent orange, red madder dark and cerulean blue tone mix gives a nice deep brown for the pots, I didn`t want the terracota orange here in the background.


            Here`s the completed painting. One of my concerns was in getting the yellow rose shrub to look like it was growing in a curved manner, its not on a straight plane behind the statues. I have achieved that by having less details for the roses as they go from right to left and ofcourse, they keep getting smaller and smaller. (but I have kept the higher chroma in the distance, they are glowing in the light and thats what attracted me to these rosese in the first place)




Back lighting


                 Objects lit up by back lighting can look very beautiful and dramatic at times  like here in this section of the painting. The leaves at the top are glowing as if with their own yellow light. Its a little different than how you would usually paint dense foliage; the leaves nearest to the viewer are in deep shadow whereas the leaves behind them are lit up. Really, its the light that creates the magic, as I`m sure you have heard before. You`re walking on the side walk on a dull, cloudy day, the trees look like green-gray lifeless forms; then suddenly the clouds part, revealing the sun`s face; the leaves start glowing fiercly and little shadows are dancing about everywhere and its like you`ve stepped into paradise!

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Here are some photos, I`m not writing about the painting process itself; you know the drill….. I will probably add more shadows and fine-tune¬†the values after I finish the rest of the painting. If you`re thinking yellow would be¬†somewhat distracting at the top edge of the painting, I`ll just say that I hope that the yellow roses towards the left¬†will form a downward path leading the eye towards the focal point.

rose garden

Work in progress ‚Äď Rose garden


                  I`ve just started doing the foreground roses. Some of them are in deep shadow, especially the one at the extreme right, so I`ve put in an orange wash for them (with some yellow at the centres). Even though we would expect shadow areas to be cooler, here the ones in the sunlight are reflecting the blue light from the sky and they look cooler (i.e. pinker) than the ones in shadow.


                  Strengthened the base colors here:


                   Put in krapprot tief (red madder dark) for the roses in shadow. This color, looks quite bright when it is wet but becomes dull when it has dried, perfect when you need warm, red shadows. The previous layers of bright orange lend luminosity to the roses even after the shadow color has been applied and they don`t look dead.


                    Started giving form to the individual petals here:


                     I`ve also used S cerulean blue tone for the shadows in the sunlit roses.

Transparency charts



                       It is always useful to test the properties of a paint whenever you buy a new one so as to make sure you don`t get a nasty surprise when you are painting. Transparency of a paint becomes a very important property when you are using glazing. A transparent paint layer will allow the previous layer that was painted to shine through, modifying the overall color. This is useful when you want to make subtle changes in color. If the paint is completely opaque, you cannot use this method of glazing.

                     The labels for colors stating their properties are sometimes ambigous across different manufacturers, so to make your own  transparency chart, draw a vertical strip of line with a waterproof black marker on a watercolor paper and paint bands of different colors across it. The ones which disappear completely while crossing the black strip are transparent, the ones completely obscuring the black strip are opaque and those that form a slight film over the black strip lie somewhere between transparent and opaque depending upon the thickness of the film. For e.g., WN winsor orange is quite opaque, it covers the black marker line; S translucent orange is very transparent. MB burnt umber is transparent, DS Lunar earth, even though it is of a lighter value, covers the black line almost completely.  

                   Another property that can be tested alongside is the flaring or spreading quality of a paint. Wet an area of paper and touch the tip of the brush loaded with the color you want to test. Some paints flare very quickly on the wet paper and some tend to settle somewhat whereever you put them. For e.g, MB burnt sienna does not spread very quickly, whereas S walnut brown does. When you mix such type of colors,  they might separate out when applied on the paper. In the swatch below, you can see the burnt sienna separating out at the fringes, even though they were mixed thoroughly on the palette. You might want such effects or they might be undesirable sometimes, so its good to have this kind of knowledge beforehand. When you want to save a highlight, for e.g., a flaring color might spread too rapidly into the area that you want to keep white. In large, background wet in wet washes too, it is useful to know of this property.


                      Granulating or sedimentary property is a unique quality of watercolor paints. To test this, apply a fluid paint solution over a wet area in a single stroke. Rock the paper to and fro if required but donot fiddle with the brush, else you will ruin the effect. Some colors like the pthalos will have a smooth appearance, some like ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, a few earth colors will have a mottled appearance created by pigment particles settling in the tiny valleys of the surface of the paper. Non-granulating paints are desirable for painting flowers, leaves or other objects having a smooth appearance. When painting sand, rusty hinges, cement walls etc., granulating paints will give a textured look without the need for any laboured brush strokes. This swatch is of DS blue apatite genuine, it shows a large-grained texture. The one below this is of DS ultramarine blue, it shows a very fine, powdery texture.