Catteleya #2

by Mindy on January 30, 2012

in 52/52 Challenge, Botanical Art, Orchids, Uncategorized, Watercolor Tips

Painting #5- 52/52 Painting Challenge

This Catteleya orchid was a super challenge to paint. The brilliant magenta glowed against the pale and subtle hues of the white petals and sepals. I had to use lots of delicate colors to portray the white and not have it fade into nothingness. To keep my edges visible I used a 2H pencil and then blotted it with a kneaded eraser. This produced a fine pale grey line. Many of the white flower paintings I have seen use grey to create shadows to tone white. I find this makes the white look dirty and dingy.  I decided to use pinks, lavenders, blues and greens. One of the tricks I use to capture white flowers is use paint chips from the hardware store. There are thousands of  "shades and tints" of white paint on the market. The paint samples are free from the manufacturer. I have a whole pile of paint chips that I use to match pale colors. Bright colors are easy for me to reproduce as my tendency is to paint bold. The softer and more subtle colors are challenging. I mix my paints and do a series of swatches to see what they look like, especially when they are dry. The color shift is important because sometimes the colors are too dark. I like to use lots of paint and I can't do this when I am painting white! I evaluate my swatches and dive in. Leaving the white of the paper is essential because the white turns into a color very fast. In this case less is more.

How do you paint white flowers?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

renatabarilli January 31, 2012 at 9:05 am

Always charming colors and beautiful line. I agree that grey are not perfect for white flowers and use different one as you done. I made a special colors charte for this purpose. All marvellous these orchids. Some time I dream to be in the forest and meet them in nature., like Margareth Mee !!!! 
Brava Mindy ciao

Mindy January 31, 2012 at 9:33 pm

I agree Renata. It is wonderful to see orchids in the wild. Margaret Mee was one of the first botanical artists to inspire me. She also works in gouache.

Vicki Lee Johnston February 1, 2012 at 10:06 am

Stunning work – love the bolds too …. hard to restrain with the paler colours that drift into white …  Beautiful work – you are inspiring me and hope to paint this frequently once I finish my course.

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