12.5 x 15 inches
watercolor on paper
Kidding! Haven’t decided on the painting’s title yet. Was just playing around with the article title and thought I probably should acknowledge that I am aware some of you may be thinking that I am stuck on hibiscuses with them being mostly my output lately. Partly true. Could not help myself. I had not realized there were so many color varieties for this flower that it makes me want to experiment with the color mixes whenever I get my hands on a new variety. The second reason is because I get requests for hibiscus paintings. Win/win for me. I get to paint what I like often.
ABOUT THE PAINTING
I finished the sketch for this portrait and had the drawing already transferred to the paper months ago. But I only put paint to paper two weeks ago. It was because I was at a loss as to how to paint our skin color. Most instructional books have color suggestions for fair and dark skin but not our race's usual color which is "morena" - a sort of golden brown. I have just finished another painting, Red Hibiscus, when I noticed I still had a lot of clean colors left over. It made me remember a conversation I had with my friend Erika who is also an artist. She shared her morena color with me. While what I had on the palette was not exactly the colors she shared with me, I got the concept from it. I remembered Morgana's drawing and decided if I was to swim in cold water (having painted my last portrait so long I feel like I've forgotten everything), better to get over the initial shock by jumping right in.
The idea is a basic brown mix to which you add blue, red, or yellow depending on whether you will use it to highlight, darken or just to add a glow. This method may also remind you of Jan Kunz's method and you are right. She is one of my earliest influences. I received my knowledge about crevice darks, reflected colors, highlights and general watercolor knowledge from her books and videos. I highly recommend her instructional books and videos. Back to my color mixing. I made my basic brown mix from cadmium orange, french ultramarine blue and permanent alizarin crimson. I used for my yellow, red and blue mixing colors cadmium yellow, permanent alizarin crimson, french ultramarine blue. But have fun experimenting with different colors. I am reserving Erika's exact trio for my next portrait painting. Thank you Erika!
8 x 8 inches
watercolor on paper
This red hibiscus will be auctioned off this September for a cause my high school batch is supporting. Batch 88, Assumption College.
Colors used for Morgana's portrait and for the Red Hibiscus are: Cadmium yellow, cadmium orange, permanent alizarin crimson, French ultramarine blue, permanent sap green, ivory black, winsor violet, and winsor green.
My colors were a combination of transparent and semi-opaque colors. The trick for not producing “mud” is patience. I dry completely between layers.
Another thing I noticed is that some of the colors look different on the photograph. When viewed in real life, the flesh tones in the painting look very soft and well blended. However, in the photograph, I can see color patches with distinct edges overlapping. I am already aware that some colors like Cobalt blue behave this way in front of the cam. This probably is related to some colors being transparent and some opaque.
Well that is it for now. Til next.
Erika Nelson’s blog