Jeff and I met on Match.com--ain't no shame in it!--and one of the things he liked about my profile was that I had answered the "What was the last great book you read?" question with The Grapes of Wrath. It was one of those books that had somehow slipped through the cracks of my reading life, and I remember finishing it while sitting on a bench in Chicago's Union Station. The devastating ending made me cry, and then I just stared at things for a while, a character Edward Hopper had forgotten to paint: Heartbroken Lonely Woman Crying Over A Book.
Anyway, one of the characters in that book is named Rose of Sharon, and I always thought that was so unusual--she has a preposition in her name! Last year we were shopping for plants to decorate our new patio, and I flipped out when I came across a rose of Sharon. The man who sold it to us said it was blue, which is not as common as the white and pink version, and after planting it, we waited for about a month for it to bloom. It's in the center of the above photo.
I took a photo of the first rose and saved the picture for a future painting. I started it a couple of weeks ago. I wasn't all that revved up to paint it at first, but after a day of work I was excited. I loved the light on the petals, and the variety of blues and purples I used to create the bloom was challenging.
I fine-tuned the white thing and added more details and texture to the petals.
Then I filled in the background with some bloopy, blurry colors, and I started the rocks in the lower-left corner. Most of the white areas would become leaves and branches.
Next up: I spent a lot of time with that dry grass on the left side. It had lots of different blurry colors going on. I texturized the rocks with purples, blues, pinks, and browns. Finally, I did some yellow underpainting on the leaves, masked off the major veins (seen above as yellow lines) and added an additional green glaze over the top.
More leaf work...
added a lot of details to the leaves and attempted to soften and refine
the veins. Leaves in direct sunlight called for bits of blue, permanent green light, and a whole lot of no-paint. The bigger/closer leaves required some micro veins. This process reminded me of the way I painted the colorful leaf from my Mushrooms painting a year and a half ago. The colors in the photo above are a bit too bright--I took the picture during a thunderstorm and got aggressive with it in Photoshop.
On my last day of painting, I added a branch and some grassy shapes in the center. Those were surprisingly complex and colorful. And then, as if on cue, our new scanner arrived in the mail!
Eleven years ago I bought a kind of so-what HP scanner that did a wonderful job with my watercolors and cartoons, and Bun liked to sit on it, too. When it died in 2009, I assumed it would be easy to find a replacement. But that was not the case--the ones we've tried since then can't handle subtle color changes or things like pastel colors outlined in black pen.
Last month Jeff did some research (and great things happen when Jeff does some research). He found a used Epson Perfection V30 for only $30. A watercolor artist had blogged about this scanner and showed how to configure the settings to work for watercolors. It seemed like such a great deal, especially when you consider that I tend to pay $12-$15 per big scan at FedEx. The only problem was that the vendor was in Hawaii, and the scanner had to endure a month-long boat odyssey and cross-country road trip before it reached us.
We set it up and scanned my painting (which was too big to fit) in two sections. Photoshop miraculously pieced them together--seamless! We were impressed at how the scanner even managed to pick up on the texture (or tooth) of my watercolor paper. Terrific!
And you can find prints of this new painting if you click here!
Imagekind has finally gotten its act together, and now my other new-ish floral paintings are available as prints, too!
Click here for Wilting Parrot Tulip.
Click here for Passion Flower.
I STRONGLY URGE YOU TO BUY ALL THREE! :)