A Singular Creation Art Community
promoting and showcasing all types of art and photography

Work In Progress: Hydrangea

Are you in the middle of a new piece? We would love to see your work as you progress through the finishing stages.

Moderator: Moderators

Work In Progress: Hydrangea

Postby RichardDevine » Sat Jun 04, 2016 11:35 am

Work In Progress: Hydrangea Update 1
One of my favorite shrubs is the Hydrangea. They are simply gorgeous from late spring through early summer and provide color here in Florida right after the Azaleas finish blooming. They, along with Camellias and Azaleas, provide for a long season of color in the deep south that starts in late September or early October, and doesn’t end until late June or early July. Hydrangeas were a mainstay in the gardens of the estate where I worked for thirty years and they still are in my home garden. My wife and I see them wherever we travel in the south. Hydrangea colors range from white to blue to pink and near red, and it’s possible to find a mix of blue and pink flowers on the same plant – and even a color we call “blurple” – a mix of blue and red in various degrees.
My next project, needless to say, is a Hydrangea. Although we have quite a few growing in our gardens, I found inspiration in two potted plants we had on display. Although both were hot pink, I decided, for the painting, to change the color to blue.


I took a number of photos of each plant from different vantage points and drew a rough sketch of the view I thought best. When I completed the sketch I was unimpressed with the arrangement of light and dark masses. It was too static. As I looked through the images again, I was unable to find one that I really liked. The shapes of the floral masses weren’t interesting. They all presented a horizontally oriented grouping of light toned floral masses atop a dark mass of leaves. However, as I looked through the different images again, I was struck by two views that, when combined, presented an inverted “U”. If I combined the images, one of the arms of the “U” covered much of the dark foliage and, for me, the arrangement looked immediately better.
I decided to stick with this new arrangement and began to use it as a basis for a number of tonal studies. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do a vignette or a full, border to border painting. After each tonal study I did a quick color study to see how the colors and masses fit together.

All together, I did twelve tonal studies and seven color studies. There are too many to upload here, but I did upload all of them to my website. So, If you want to see them all, check out my website. Here, I'll show the original Hydrangea photos and the tone and color studies I decided on.


After looking at all the tonal and color studies I was attracted to two of them – tonal study 3 (color study 2) and tonal study 7 (color study 7). The former was clean and simple, more botanical, while the latter was more complex and floral (if you can feel the difference). In the end I decided I would do a vignette, corresponding to tonal study 3 and color study 2 because I wanted to keep it more as a botanical painting. The background would be clean.
To be sure of my choice I did a quick but a bit more detailed pencil study of tonal study 3. I liked the composition and shapes and felt it would make a good painting.
Color study 7, with the dark background extending into and filling the upper right corner is also a promising composition and I may do that one at some future date.

I’ll start on the full size pencil drawing next.
Attachments
User avatar
RichardDevine
 
Posts: 184
Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2014 9:08 am
Location: Dunnellon, FL
Gallery: View Gallery
Blog: View Blog (26)

Re: Work In Progress: Hydrangea

Postby RichardDevine » Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:23 am

Work In Progress: Hydrangea Update 2
From the thumbnail value and color sketches I developed the full size pencil drawing. After doing so, I went back to the sketch made from the combined photos and made some notes. The notes were my first thoughts and may or may not be fully followed as I go forward, but they’ll serve as a guide. The main focus will be on the lower flower mass. This is the area where the most detail will be concentrated. It is here that some of the sharpest edges and greatest contrasts will be found. I’ve constructed the composition so that the entrance point for the viewer’s eye will be on the branch at the bottom - not clearly visible on the sketch with the notes but easily seen on the full size drawing. The branch leads directly to the center of interest – the lower mass of flowers. The eye will then pass up and around the rest of the floral masses. The dark shadows of the flowers and foliage mass tend to frame the lighter floral masses. As the eye progress upward from the focus area it will encounter progressively less detailed floral masses, the lightest and least detailed are those three masses across the top.
The full size drawing is not intended to be a fully detailed drawing but merely a guide to the floral masses. I indicated some landmarks – flowers and flower centers - to help me fill in the other features as I start the color work.
The painting will be 11” by 14” long and done in pastel pencil. The paper I chose was UArt sanded pastel paper, 500 grade. I like the sanded papers. I like the feel of the pastel going on and the fact that they can take a lot of pastel before they fill up.

Next, transfer the drawing and start the color process.
Attachments
User avatar
RichardDevine
 
Posts: 184
Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2014 9:08 am
Location: Dunnellon, FL
Gallery: View Gallery
Blog: View Blog (26)

Re: Work In Progress: Hydrangea

Postby RichardDevine » Sat Jun 18, 2016 9:30 am

Work In Progress: Hydrangea Update 3
As in the last two paintings, completion of this painting will be done in a number of stages. The first three stages have already been accomplished – developing the composition, the tonal study and the color study. After transferring the drawing to the finish paper, the final four stages will be carried out to complete the painting. Those four stages are blocking in the shapes, developing the shapes, refining the shapes and final touches.
You’ll notice I describe progressing through the painting in terms of shapes - that’s what I have to keep in mind. Although this a floral painting – a painting of Hydrangea flowers, it is ultimately a painting of shapes - the arrangement of shapes of varying tones into a pleasing composition. For me, at least, it’s not always easy determining whether I have the best arrangement or a universally pleasing arrangement of shapes. I think it’s very subjective. What I’m comfortable with may not make you comfortable. But, that’s all we have. We put together shapes in varying configurations and of differing tonality according to generally accepted beliefs and choose the one that we feel best about – and hope that most others feel the same way. It’s a very personal journey.
Many pastel artists work their paintings from dark to mid tone to light, and that’s the way I worked this one. Working in this fashion can develop the three dimensionality of a shape – the mid tones are always in between the lights and darks, giving solidity to a form. However, another way of tackling a painting is to place the darks first, then the lights, then the mid tones. Establishing the two ends first allows you to develop the mid tones as needed to fit in. This way makes a lot of sense to me and I may try that in my next painting.
In this painting I placed in the darks first. For the first pass, or blocking in stage the shadow areas within the flowers established with CO 390. For the shadows with in the foliage I used a combination of CO 390 and PP 168. These colors seemed pretty close to what I observed when looking at Hydrangea flowers outside in my own garden. During this first pass I’m not using the darkest darks or lightest lights so that I can go darker or lighter if necessary to expand the range of tones. The dark blues somewhat frame the lighter shapes of the flowers.
The midtones came next . Here I used CO 440, 450 and PP 140 for the flowers and PP168 for the leaves.
All the lighter areas of the flowers were layed in with CO 435. I didn’t go any lighter on the leaves at this point.
It wasn’t always easy but I tried to think in terms of large shapes when blocking in at this stage. Standing back away from the reference photos to eliminate details helped. I also squinted. At this stage I’m only interested in the most basic shapes and their tone in relation to one another. I had a tendency to start placing details, that’s why I had to consciously think only in terms large shapes, including only landmarks here and there to make it easier later to find things.

The next pass through will be development of the shapes.
Attachments
User avatar
RichardDevine
 
Posts: 184
Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2014 9:08 am
Location: Dunnellon, FL
Gallery: View Gallery
Blog: View Blog (26)

Re: Work In Progress: Hydrangea

Postby jenn_iam » Mon Jun 20, 2016 11:54 am

These are looking great even now.. LIke the choices of colors you are choosing... the Hydrangea always has the most interesting of colors naturally... this will be beautiful
May your world be painted in the Brightest of colors!

Jennifer Erin
-Artist/Illustrator / Film/Media Designer & SFX MakeUp / Storyboard Artist
(All mediums; Conceptual Design, Costume Creation, to Application)
User avatar
jenn_iam
Moderator
 
Posts: 1312
Joined: Mon May 22, 2006 12:16 pm
Location: Sacramento, CA
Gallery: View Gallery
Blog: View Blog (2)

Re: Work In Progress: Hydrangea

Postby RichardDevine » Sun Jun 26, 2016 8:57 am

Work In Progress: Hydrangea Update 4
Developing the Shapes
In the last Update I described blocking in the shapes – darks, midtones and lights – without too much regard to any definition. It’s beneficial to see the big picture first, then gradually work toward greater definition. In this second pass I worked from darks to middle tones to lights again, but this time I began to develop the focal point to a greater degree. The same colors are used at this stage as in the previous. Color becomes more solid as more of the paper is covered. Shapes include the positive shapes of the flowers as well as the shadow shapes. The focus will be in the area of the lower floral mass. Here is where most of the detail will be concentrated. Moving further away from this center of interest, detail decreases.
Forms still appear more or less flat in this pass, as the subtle form shadows have not been added yet. That will come in the refinement stage.
Attachments
User avatar
RichardDevine
 
Posts: 184
Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2014 9:08 am
Location: Dunnellon, FL
Gallery: View Gallery
Blog: View Blog (26)

Re: Work In Progress: Hydrangea

Postby RichardDevine » Sat Jul 02, 2016 10:50 am

Work In Progress: Hydrangea Update 5
Refining the Shapes
In this pass I brought more clarity to the shapes, making them look more three dimensional. First, I went back over the flowers. I concentrated detail in the lower mass of flowers. Moving away from this center of interest, I gradually decreased the detail until, in the outer masses at the top and to the right, detail was the least. There was also the least amount of variety in tone and contrast on the perimeter. Most of the tonal range and contrast is centered in the bottom mass of flowers. The blues used in the center of interest were CO 390 prussian blue, CO 405 ultramarine blue, CO 450 cyan blue, CO 440 sky blue, CO 435 ultramarine blue light, PP 143 cobalt blue and PP 140 light ultramarine. The darker colors were used more in the center of interest. I used some CO 100 titanium white for the flower centers, some highlights on petal edges and near the centers of the flowers.
The leaves came next. I had initially blocked them in but did little additional work on them. The deepest shadows were a mix of CO 390 prussian blue and PP 174 chrome green opaque. The lighter areas were a mix of PP 174 and PP 168 earth green yellowish. In the sunlit portions of the leaves I added CO 106 light chrome yellow. After initially filling in the area of the leaf, I used PP 106 to draw in the veins, then I added texture to the leaves with a combination of the three Pitt Pastels.
I decided to add some background to the mass of flowers, but wanted to keep it diffuse. Here I used CO 440 sky blue, CO 450 cyan blue, CO 435 ultramarine blue light, PP168 earth green yellowish and PP174 chrome green opaque. I stroked in the colors and smudged them with my finger. Adding the background also had the effect of diminishing the importance of the leaves. I felt they were beginning to compete with the flowers for attention. Now they seemed to blend more into the background, especially in areas where I purposely lost some edges.
Next, I’ll complete the background and add the final touches to the painting.
Attachments
User avatar
RichardDevine
 
Posts: 184
Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2014 9:08 am
Location: Dunnellon, FL
Gallery: View Gallery
Blog: View Blog (26)

Re: Work In Progress: Hydrangea

Postby RichardDevine » Sat Jul 09, 2016 12:13 pm

Work In Progress: Hydrangea Update 6
Final Touches
Here is the completed painting. I completed the background on the left side. Also added some violet to some of the petals. PP 138 was used. This pastel was a little intense, so I had to use a very light touch and blend it in with white or a light blue to keep the color subtle.
I think I accomplished what I set out to with this painting. I wanted to use detail selectively and make use of edges to focus attention on the center of interest. The center of interest, the focal point, was in the area of the lower mass of flowers. Most of the detail was centered there. Detail decreased outward from that focal point. The flower masses across the top were the least important and contained the least detail. Secondary areas of interest were to the upper left and upper right of the main center. Together they formed a roughly triangular area. The leaves surrounding the center of interest also have less detail. When completed, they, at first, competed with the flowers for attention. However, after adding in the diffuse, soft, out of focus, background I believe their importance diminished some. The dark shadows surrounding the lower flower mass also helped to focus attention on the flowers. The leaves almost provide a partial frame for the flowers.
I tried to include some lost edges in this composition also. They are evident mostly in the handling of the leaves – edges are lost in the shadows. I also lost some edges of flowers on the far outside left and right, and also here and there within the floral mass itself.

I really like pastel and, moving forward, I think pastel will become an important medium for me.
Attachments
User avatar
RichardDevine
 
Posts: 184
Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2014 9:08 am
Location: Dunnellon, FL
Gallery: View Gallery
Blog: View Blog (26)

Re: Work In Progress: Hydrangea

Postby CarlOwen » Sat Jul 09, 2016 1:22 pm

How do you do it Richard? I mean to post your progress on such exquisitely rendered visions of your work coupled with expertly worded directions and information that most artists do not understand, ignore, or simply with lack of that understanding, dismiss. You sir, are a master of the art craft and the understanding of human artistic desires. I study what you do. I read your technical explanations. I learn. I challenge other artists to admit the same thing.

Moving on. I love how you changed the flowers from red to blue. It emotes a completely different visual feeling. I am sure that is the reason for the change. I also sense a personal development in your artistic visions. You have finally arrived at that point where you are no longer satisfied with copying a photo. You are morphing into the artist who wants to express what you want seen by others that you see in your mind. Photos are now becoming only a starting reference point for you. Good first step. Most excellent step Richard, most excellent. I know you have not actually admitted this to yourself as fact as you are still traveling that side road you just discovered. But my friend, keep moving on down it just as Robert Frost did. At the end of your pastel trail you will find the king of all wall art for centuries past and centuries to come.
User avatar
CarlOwen
Moderator
 
Posts: 1085
Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:06 pm
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Gallery: View Gallery

Re: Work In Progress: Hydrangea

Postby RichardDevine » Sun Jul 10, 2016 4:13 pm

Carl, I am truly humbled by your very kind comments and don't feel deserving of such praise. While I am trying to improve my own art, I want to share what I learn as I go along. If, what I find along my journey can help others in their quest to become better artists, I am pleased. By your comments, you help to inspire me to continue my own journey. Thank you.
User avatar
RichardDevine
 
Posts: 184
Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2014 9:08 am
Location: Dunnellon, FL
Gallery: View Gallery
Blog: View Blog (26)

Re: Work In Progress: Hydrangea

Postby CarlOwen » Sun Jul 10, 2016 4:52 pm

Good evening Richard. Thank you. So many youngsters have no clue what we are talking about, much less the competency to understand. Reference point is this example. Captains of those incredible jumbo jets, the 747's, the two story tall ones (on the inside!) and others I have no knowledge about other than they are to big to be in the air, do not fly those things. The Captain is the authority, the experienced one, the one in charge overlooking and directing all of the flight personnel in how to do their duties and why it must be done so. It has been so from the beginning of time from the first sail set and shall be so until the end of time. I am not disparaging the youngsters. We were once there and had Captains teaching and caring for us. That is the power drive of civilization. We are part of that civilization force that demands that artistic creation of beautiful objects to be part of our humanity. I appreciate being a member of this collection of humans that insist on creating objects of beauty just because we humans need that level of fulfillment in that most secret part of our souls. I enjoy being accepted in the company of such accomplished artists such as you.

And as you know, because you so heartfelt and accurately stated it, you know that at a certain age, we as human beings acknowledge and accept the responsibility of teaching and guiding our prodigy to their paths for success. When we don't, we fall into the dark side of ignorance and want to be entrapped inside our personal hades born of our own making. Whenever I see that youngster's face or hear the 'I don't understand', challenging, doubtful, or simply confused questions I take the time to answer. Sometimes my answers are not accepted, sometimes they are. I honor how you have the ability to produce a beautiful work of art, to demonstrate how it is done and to write instructions about it. Simply, wow. Thank you for thinking I am worthy of your time.
User avatar
CarlOwen
Moderator
 
Posts: 1085
Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:06 pm
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Gallery: View Gallery

Re: Work In Progress: Hydrangea

Postby RichardDevine » Sun Jul 10, 2016 7:46 pm

Carl,
I will be guiding some students this week in a colored pencil class (an Iris) and will do my best to help them become better artists and feel as passionate about the creation process as we do. Thanks for your support.
User avatar
RichardDevine
 
Posts: 184
Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2014 9:08 am
Location: Dunnellon, FL
Gallery: View Gallery
Blog: View Blog (26)

Re: Work In Progress: Hydrangea

Postby Singular » Sun Jul 10, 2016 8:46 pm

Agree 100% with Carl. I am going to find a way to promote your art and your work here. Artists can learn a lot by reading your posts.
User avatar
Singular
Founder
 
Posts: 4338
Articles: 28
Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:08 pm
Location: Maryland
Gallery: View Gallery
Blog: View Blog (2)

Re: Work In Progress: Hydrangea

Postby Stu Arts » Sun Jul 17, 2016 1:32 pm

wow it really came together at the end, very nice :-)
Stu Arts
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2016 1:24 pm
Gallery: View Gallery


  • Similar topics
    Replies
    Views
    Author

Return to Works In Progress

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests