Sunday, February 20, 2011

Yellow Hibiscus

Yellow Hibiscus, At Twilight
19 x 19 inches
watercolor on paper
Feb 20, 2011

I already named this one Twilight Hibiscus but when I googled to see if grammatically, that is acceptable, not only did I find out that it is ok to use but that there are a lot of photos and art with the same name already.  So I rechristened this one Yellow Hibiscus, At Twilight.

Now why the fixation with the word twilight.  While I did read the vampire novel, I was influenced more by the time setting for this piece.  We have this not so usual yellow hibiscus in our garden.  We were told the mother plant probably came from Hawaii.  That would explain why it looks different from the local variety.  The blooms are bigger than normal and with more folding within each petal (reminds me of swag curtains).  The deep pockets or folding bring out the most unusual reflections.  Whenever I would pass by this plant in the mornings and in the afternoons, I would always stop to enjoy and marvel at how the sky and nearby objects get reflected on the bloom making its yellow colorful.  Trying to capture the moment on photo is almost impossible.  the brightness of the yellow dominates and the camera is unable to register the other colors even though they look so evident with the naked eye.  Then passing by one time, as the sun is setting, i realized that the other colors get more pronounced as the brightness of the yellow lessened with the approach of darkness.  When I saw a potential bloom one morning, I waited that afternoon for the right moment with my camera on a tripod.  I remember the incident clearly because the whole time I was afraid I would get dengue from all the mosquitoes biting.  And as the sun disappeared from the horizon, there, the perfect window of opportunity. And I was able to get some reference photos of this effect. The pictures were blurred but workable.  We usually get wind here in the afternoons and even with the tripod, if the subject is swaying in low light, it is almost impossible to get a clear shot.  But no matter, I got a good enough guide photo.  As for the detailing, I already had previous sketches and studies of this flower that I can use.  By the way, photos are very good at capturing the moment but they have limitations.  Without your own memory of what caught you about the scene, without a chance of actual observation of the subject, without mental notes on details and constructions, working from reference photos can even be harder than if you were to paint from real life.  Just that sometimes, when your subject has a short lifespan, as with most flowers, or at times when you cannot work on location or cannot take the subject home, a photo is a very useful tool for jogging the memory.  I would still recommend doing actual sketches from life.  Do studies of your intended subject.  It helps you see subjects in the round.  Drawing helps you see things with logic.  So and so has a bump here because the thing is connected to the... that kind of logic.  I would often dissect flowers to see how they are put together and find this exercise of drawing them from life very helpful.  You need not be that technical nor obsessive but sometimes it helps when you find yourself with a photographically accurate rendering that still looks flat or unreal.  The knowledge could help you fabricate details that can lead to better illusion of reality. Often, what you will manage to capture on film or file is so flattened together that some parts don't look natural anymore.  You will encounter objects here and there you can't logic the origin of.  Which is probably why it is better to work from reference photos you took yourself. Your memory can guide you and you can then weed away the unessential and add or augment what is absent but you think should be there.  There are times however that you may have to work from photos sent by others.  Most artist accept commission work and this is a great way to have supplemental income.  Anyway, another topic for another day.  How to use photo references.

I am happy to announce that this youngest child of mine is already sold.  She will not be lonely because she will be placed beside her sister, 2010 hibiscus (I still have yet to come up with a name for the quinacridone red/fuschia hibiscus).  Thank you very much Atty Gigi for giving them a good home.  First time also I worked following a theme.  Again another  potential topic.  How to do a series.  

That's it for now.  Thank you for looking.