Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sunflower Painting is Finished, and What I Learned

It's Friday and time to show you photos of the latest finished watercolor painting. I had some other fun news to share, but you will have to wait. Painting is happening and the sooner I get this one out of here the easier it will be to get the next one working and I will tell you what was so much fun.

First twenty minutes

There were a few things I learned while painting this work. Firstly, the height of my art table is too high. The dining room table is lower when I painted there, waist level while standing. This was not comfortable and I felt as if I couldn't get away from it by standing or sitting on a stool. It will need to be lowered if I'm going to paint there.

Secondly, the desk lamp is not natural even though I have a daylight bulb and an incandescent one. It's just way to bright and also too close to the work to gauge paint colors the way I wanted. I persevered.

Second twenty minutes

The third thing I learned is about the paper. After using Lanaquarelle, then Arches, I can tell the difference in quality. I bought this Canson tablet on sale, it was larger than I was using, and figured it'd come in handy when I was ready to work larger. 

Also it's a pad, not a block, and if not affixed to a surface it curls and rolls when wet. The painting surface is not that great either, leaving weird brush strokes. Well, I guess it's okay if you want those brush strokes to show. 

I'm using two different paint companies, MaimeriBlue and Windsor&Newton. When I painted a layer over an area previously painted, the layer beaded up. Was it the paint? Was it the paper? Or does that happen? I thought it was strange.

Blue Vase With Sunflowers ©2011 Dora Sislian Themelis
15x20 Watercolor on Canson paper
After I finished I took photographs while the work was still attached to the table. My problems were the same I had while painting: unnatural and too bright light, too close to get a good shot. I took the painting off the table, went to the dining room table and the nice northern exposure picture window to take a photo. See the difference? Washed out color in artificial light, more true to the paints in natural light.

The fourth thing I learned is that I'm getting comfortable using my photos to paint from. I don't want to get too cozy because then it'll take time to get back to painting from life.

I'll figure it out one of these days. In the meanwhile I'm still in the game. 


  1. I like the sunflowers and it seems you learned a lot from this painting!

  2. Thanks Sheryl, I learned plenty. Now I have to do something about it.

  3. Your flowers are very beautiful and lively. Excellent work.

    1. Thank you so much for dropping in and commenting Shelley! I'm glad you liked my watercolor painting.


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