Monday, August 21, 2017

Selective Underpainting

I love the silhouette shapes of these calla lilies. The trumpet-like white flowers stand out from their surroundings.

I use a variation of the underpainting strategy. I decide to do an overall wash of yellow selectively under the leaves only, not under the flowers. That groups the foliage together as a mass, allowing the flowers to stand out.
Calla lilies, watercolor and gouache, 4 x 7 inches
I allow the area inside the flowers to stay bright white until late in the process, and then I place pale washes of transparent watercolor over them.

(Link to video)
So in summary: 1) Careful drawing. 2) Background leaves painted over yellow watercolor underpainting. 3) Transparent watercolor on white lilies.

This demo is not part of the new video, Flower Painting in the WildI just didn't get much coverage on this one.

“Of all of Gurney’s terrific series of “In the Wild” videos, Flower Painting in the Wild is the best.” —Matthew Innis, Underpaintings


Unknown said...

Hey James,
Great post as always. I was wondering if for a future post you might touch on a topic that seems pretty relevant today: how to paint an eclipse.

From the landscapes I've seen, I have never seen an eclipse depicted (I'm assuming because no one was able to look directly at one to even not down notes) so there doesn't seem to be much guidance on this topic. Would you know of resources or artists that address this subject matter? Any information would be great (and at the very least intriguing to the community here, I'm sure)

James Gurney said...

Michael, my initial thought on that is that an eclipse is not something you could paint from observation, so you might as well select the best photo you can of one and paint it from that. Keep a compass handy!