Part 2 Project 2 Exercise 2 – Still life with flowers

The guidance notes for this exercise are quite comprehensive. We are asked to choose an arrangements of flowers that is simple, which can be central to the composition or part of a random selection of other objects. I decided to choose an arrangement of flowers that I got for mother’s day from my son, who could not actually give them to me but left them at the door to our house.

I initially thought of doing this exercise in oils, however after doing the initial tone drawing in a loose wash of burnt sienna Cobra wm oils, I decided to look at inks.

Initial tonal underpainting oils on A3 canvas paper
Building up colours with various inks

I do not have a big selection of inks to work with but I thought I had sufficient to produce the colours necessary for this painting. I chose various shades of blue, greens, yellow, magenta, pink, orange and red. I included deep violet mixed with orange to create browns and dark shadows.

Still Life – inks on canvas paper

I have resisted the urge to work more into this painting, as I wanted it to say loose and semi-abstract. For the majority of the painting, I used 3/4″ and 1″ brushes.

Once I had finished this painting, I decided that I’d like to try the composition out on Yupo paper also using inks. However, I had seen work done with Watercolours on Yupo and wondered if I could try this medium rather than ink and whether it would give a nice bright result. I have a much larger range of colours in watercolour paint. My Yupo paper is nearly finished and I am using A4 – I have since ordered a huge set of alcohol inks and will be getting A3 Yupo paper soon as well, as I really like working on the surface of Yupo. I didn’t take a photo of the start of the process, where I first drew a very light guide drawing on the paper using a soft pencil. I worked with much smaller brushes (due to the size of the paper) and this created some problems as I could not seem to get the background blue smooth / blended the way I wanted it to look.

watercolour on Yupo – initial layers

I continued to work into the paper, sometimes wiping off areas that I wasn’t happy with (that’s the beauty of Yupo). I used burnt sienna, prussian blue, carmine and crimson red, rose red, very dark green, black, violet, orange and primary yellow in this painting.

Still life – watercolour on Yupo A4

Of the two still life painitngs, I am most happy with the small Yupo one. It is vibrant and even though it was worked over a lot, I think it doesn’t look over-worked. There are interesting negative shapes and the watercolour when mixed wet onto the paper in some cases, has created its own colours (around and on the oranges, for example).

I really enjoyed doing this exercise and was pleased with the finished results of both paintings – they look more spontaneous than any previous still life work I’ve done. i thought a lot about the placement of the objects for the composition and studied the items intently to pick out the reflected light – for example, the orange reflections in the side of the glass jug.

The third still life exercise in this part of the project is with natural objects, I am hoping to be able to use Yupo and alcohol inks to do that.

3 thoughts on “Part 2 Project 2 Exercise 2 – Still life with flowers

  1. Steve Meyfroidt March 31, 2020 — 4:58 pm

    Very interesting! I really like the first one over the second for its freshness, although both are very good. And you’re the second person to reference “Yupo” today… What’s going on?! I definitely need to go try it out, eh? How long did your watercolour paint take to dry on there? (Thinking about taking a print from it, for example…)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Steve for your comments! If the watercolour is applied with a lot of water, it takes a fair bit of time to dry, far longer than on standard watercolour paper for example. I used pan watercolours for this piece, so i could make the paint quite thin but I also mixed thicker clumps of paint (especially the oranges and greens). Yupo is fantastic paper.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Steve Meyfroidt March 31, 2020 — 9:03 pm

        Fab! I’ll give it a try when I next order supplies.


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