Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Day 21: Red Peonies

Red Peonies 
6" square, Sennelier oil pastels on watercolor journal

I finished and posted this yesterday on Leslie Saeta's 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge, but forgot to blog again here. So today may have a double post due to catching up!
I actually sketched this from a photo by Ural Jones on WetCanvas back on the 20th, but did the chrysanthemums faster since I knew this one would be some work and I wasn't sure what medium I'd use for it.

Sennelier oil pastels are the very softest. They are very nearly paint, with a texture similar to oil sticks. Blended them with a Derwent color shaper, which I happened to have handy. I also used a little odorless mineral spirits to dissolve the light green and yellow background elements for a smoother texture, saving the heaviest painterly textures for the flowers.

I think it's one of my better compositions, surely one of the more complex ones. I like the value pattern and the way the red-green color harmony breaks the mid-dark area dramatically into foreground flowers and background leaves. The colors pleased me and the whole painting came out better than I expected.

My first thought was to use gouache or watercolor for it, but I like this better. Toward the end I wasn't sure if it was too rough and textured. Then I stood back and pow, yeah, that was just the "under my nose" effect. You can't really tell about whether a painting works when you're focused on one small area right on top of it. The best test is to stand back. 

If standing back physically is too hard, as it sometimes is for me, takng a photo and looking at the thumbnail is a good way to get an overall view of the composition. When I saw this an inch across, it surprised me how well it hangs together. Definitely a step forward in composition!

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