Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pink Liliums, Using Warm Glazing To Recede Objects

Pink Liliums  
11 x 14 inches.
Watercolor on Paper.
Collection of Librada Dela Fuente

Finding flowers to paint can seem like an adventure sometimes.  There was this one time when I was so fixated on some cannas growing by the highway that I had to stop and take pictures.  I was so engrossed in taking reference photos that I did not notice there was a fence and a house behind the plants.  The owners called the local authorities fearing that I was scouting their house to rob. I had to do some explaining but it was a good thing that happened too because now I'm more aware of the surroundings and make sure to ask permission first before I even take out my camera.  I also would sometimes travel to a place I've been told grows this and that plant.  Even friends and families support me in my hunts for they would call me whenever they spot beautiful and unusual flowers where they go.  My father, specially, is very supportive. He would often drive for me when I'm on a flower hunt and even offers to buy cuttings of plants that he thinks I would be interested in.  I'm very lucky to have relatives who support me in my interest.  I have a grand aunt in particular who I'm very grateful to.  When she learned that I paint flowers, she opened her garden to me and would send me home with the car packed full of plants that she thinks I would enjoy growing and painting.  And when I say packed full, I mean trunk is full and my passengers even have plants on their laps and cramping their legrooms. I can't help but smile as I drive us home with our mobile garden.  I cannot thank lola Badeng enough for opening such a resource to me.  Imagine our surprise when a cutting she gave my parents years ago suddenly bloomed one day and it was a jade vine.  Quite rare in this day and age.  First time also for me to see a morning glory in actuality.  When I learned that she likes to collect paintings, I made this to gift to her.  She liked it very much and I'm very happy when next I visited her house that she placed it in a position of honor, next to a painting of Mrs Araceli Limcaco Dans.  Don't you just love your lolas (grandmas / grandaunts).

About this painting.   One technique to show depth of field is by varying the temperature of the different planes in your painting to simulate how the subject would look in real life as affected by atmosphere. Often, guided by what we see in nature and in landscapes, we have been told to use cool colors to recede objects and warm colors to advance them.  I have often used this technique in many of my paintings.  Cool colors like the blues and the greens are very good for receding the background and making your warm floral pop out.  For this one though, I decided to use warm glazing* on the background and kept instead the cooler version of pink on the main flower or focal point.  I think it works just as well in making the main flower stand out.  The important principle is to play the warm against the cool colors.  If you use cool glazing to push objects towards the back, use more warm colors on the objects in the foreground.  If you are opting for warm glazing, remember to use cool versions of colors on your foreground to differentiate or show that it is not on the same plane as the background.

*Glazing is the application of a watercolor wash over an object or area in your painting to diminish its prominence or brilliance. Transparent watercolors are very good for glazing as these allow you to still see what is under the paint film clearly.  Glazing is not just limited to watercolors.  The technique is also used with the other mediums like oil and acrylic but the important thing is the glaze has to be transparent to work.  Glazing is like using colored filter on your camera lens to alter the temperature of the object and background you are viewing.  But unlike with the camera, painting allows you to selectively target specific areas within your painting to use this "filter" on. Glazes may be done using cool or warm colors.  For a clean glaze application  (your objective is not to disturb the underlying layer), make sure the area to receive the glazing has already dried.  Use a soft touch when applying the wash.  A heavy hand may provide enough force to displace already dried paint. If using multiple glazes, make sure also to dry completely in between applications.

While the original Pink Liliums is no longer available, prints of it may be ordered at Fine Art  America.   Follow the link to its page.  http://fineartamerica.com/featured/1-pink-liliums-karen-sioson.html

Thank you very much for looking