Wednesday, December 3, 2014

"Jimmie's Blessing" - A Commission


This week has seen me busy with lots of projects on the go, one of which has been this wonderful commission from a client who had a beautiful story to tell.

She wanted a painting of a "Hydrangea", specifically the periwinkle colored one called "Mophead".  They were her mother’s favorites and when her mom passed away last year, my client dug them up from her mother's former home in California and took them to Oregon where they are currently in pots trying to survive the winter. 

She wanted the format small so it could go on a special wall she has picked out.  It will be a painting to honor her mother and their shared love of Hydrangeas. 



My client wanted me to use Twinkling h2O's in the painting.  For those of you who don't know what they are, they are cakes of crystal and mica infused watercolors made my ColourArte.  They are truly stunning, but not easy to use on such a detailed and delicate subject.



I began by under-painting the flower head with flat watercolors, defining the clusters of petals and describing the shadow points and highlights.  Next came the Twinkling h2O layer in various states of intensity.  As these paints are strikingly vibrant, I had to work hard to control the subtle color changes and blends.

Once the main colors were laid down I used watercolor pencil to tone down some of the sparkle and introduce some flat, deep shadows. 



I then followed the same process on the leaves and stem.  The sparkle is a little more subtle in real life as the camera catches the light glares off the crystals in the paint.  The purpose of the additives in this paint is not only to give them a beautiful and subtle 'twinkle', but to enhance the vibrancy of the color pigment.  It uses 'refraction and reflection' to do this.  

Paintings done in Twinkling h2O's are always breathtaking and give the observer a sense of being able to pick the flower off the page.


The technical description for these blue hydrangeas is Hydrangea macrophylla 'Nikko Blue. 'Macrophylla is the specific epithet and signifies "big leaf"; thus you will hear the classification "bigleaf hydrangea." 'Nikko Blue' is the cultivar name. (I hope I got that right)


And here is the finished painting. I've called it "Jimmie's Blessing" in honor of my clients mother.

It is done on 8" x 8" Sennelier Hot Press 140lb watercolor paper, and as soon as my client has this hanging on her wall, I will be making prints available in my Fine Art America shop.  

Thanks for checking in. xx