7th July 2006
Number five of the ten flower paintings, half way through the series.
Although this painting didn’t come out so well, it was an interesting one to work on. I hadthe same problem as with theGerbana, in that I couldn’t quite getthe colour right. It’s funny, because I picked this rose to paint thinking that it wouldn’tpresent me with any problems. TheMichael Harding cadmium yellow is very intense, I was sure Icould catch this yellow. But the old problem returned.
I could either get the colour the right tone, in whichcase I lost the intensity of the yellow by adding too much white, or I could get the intensityof the colour, with pure cad yellow, but then the tone was darker. With the Gerbana I decided to live with mypainting coming out slightly darker in tone than the actual flower, and the painting came out ok.For some reason, I’m not sure why, I didn’t do that with this one. Perhaps because I thought I shouldhave been able to match the colours AND the tones on this rose. I couldn’t. In real life, the rose wasfairly glowing with light. Mine looks dead by comparison.
Because I was finding it difficult to match the colour, I struggled with this one and I think it shows.Towards the end of the painting, I kept standing back and thinking I didn’t have enough intensity to thecolour, so I added more pure yellow. Then I would stand back again, and think the rose had become toodark, and add more white. The result was that the rose became overworked and lost it’s freshness andvitality. Overworking a painting is never good, but it seems to be particularly destructive when paintingflowers. The leaves, which came out fine on the first hit, work much better. The bluish green ofthe leaves in full light was easier to match than the yellow, and I could get the warm yellowish reflectedgreen on the leaves in shadow with a yellowish green glaze.
This business about having to compromise between colour and tone is becoming more and more of an issue for me.I do believe I’ll crack it, but I think I’ll need to concentrate on it for a while before I do. It’s not becauseof mixing, because I used pure cadmium yellow (with some white of course) for this rose. What I’m getting atis that it wasn’t that I couldn’t mix the colour I needed, like when I was going for an intense magenta on theorchid, I just don’t seem to be able to get theintensity of hue and the tone at the same time. There must be a way.
I’m planning to paint this rose again tomorrow, in slightly weaker light (i.e. with the rose placed furtherfrom the window,) and see if that makes a difference. Also, I’m going to try to ignore the drawing of the formas much as I can and concentrate on the colour notes more. I’m considering doing three small, quicker sketchesof the rose tomorrow, one with a light background, one with a mid-tone and one with a dark background, just tosee how it affects the colour. If this rose wilts too much before tomorrow morning,I’ve got some chrysanthemums of a very similar colour I can play with instead. We’ll see what happens.
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