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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sometimes, You Have To Outsmart Yourself! (Laure Ferlita)

After returning from my trip to San Francisco, I knew I'd be adding a page of the gorgeous California Poppies I saw all over the city. I also knew I wanted them to be loose and painting loose for me is always a challenge!
Detail from Full Spread
Click to Enlarge
Since I worship at the "altar of detail," I decided to really make it difficult to paint details by painting the pages while standing up with the sketchbook turned upside down with a #10 size brush.
Detail from Full Spread
Click to Enlarge
After the pages dried, I sat down to add just a few of the details to the flowers to suggest the crinkled and wrinkled texture of their petals.
More Detail
Click to Enlarge
Adding in those few details also fed that need I have for detail work without overwhelming the flowers.
California Poppies
11 x 8.5 inches
Watercolor
Ink for the writing only
This was way fun and a little scary as I was working in my sketchbook for San Francisco and I really could have messed up, but I had a game plan in case of failure. I figured I could either glue new paper over the ruined pages or possibly gesso over these and go again. Thankfully, I didn't have to!

If you are a detail painter with a strong desire to let go of the details with no idea where how to begin, let me suggest giving this a try. Choose a large, easy, organic/natural subject so that if you get "outside of lines" it doesn't ruin anything.

Lightly sketch out your page, gather your supplies, put your book upside down on a table, stand up, and let the paint fly! (I had to leave the room while it was drying to keep from fiddling in the paint!)

The other thing that helped me was leaving all reference material in the other room out of sight. That way I didn't start trying to add in any details or shadows.

After your page dries, consider where you can add just enough detail to clarify or suggest texture. Keep in mind that less is more. Go slowly by adding in a few details and then stepping away from the work so that you can view the page with a fresh eye.

If you decide to join me in the "upside down, standing up, large brush" painting method, please let us know by leaving a comment below with a link so we can see you efforts too!
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I hope you'll consider joining me on "An Imaginary Trip to San Francisco!" The "trip begins on August 16th. More information is available here! Hope to see you in the Imaginary Realm!

16 comments:

  1. Laure, you have painted my favorite subject from my favorite city. I lived there for over 2 years, and your painting brought back those memories..
    Love the tip about upside down.. I am one of those 'fiddlers', and I too am trying to loosen up ... I'm definetly going to try it..
    I've painted a lot of poppies in my day.. and must try it 'your way' thanks for sharing ..
    BJ

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    1. Yay! Let me know how it goes! Would love to see the results and find out if it works as well for you as it did for me.

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  2. Just wonderful, Laure!! The blooms pop off of the page. You had me giggling at having to leave the room :)

    * ** * * ** *

    I wish you well on your upcoming trip. Hey everyone! Don't miss the chance to study with Laure. Great fun and tutelage to be had. A winning combo!

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    1. Thanks, Pam! It's a sad statement, but it happens to be true as well. I'm a fiddler at heart!

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  3. The orange poppies just make me smile!! I love these pages.

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    1. Thanks, Diana! The one on the far right was suppose to have been yellow, but in the flow, I TOTALLY forgot! Maybe next time!

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  4. Well I think you accomplished what you set out to do and still was able to put am little of yourself into this loose free painting!

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  5. Laure, brilliant advice! I've discovered a #14 brush I'm absolutely in love with...and your painting is beautiful!

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    1. A #14?! Wow! I haven't gone that big—yet. That must be a huge shift.

      Hmmm, now you have me curious!

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    2. Laure, it WAS! I found a set of brushes on sale at Utrecht--4 brushes for $14.95! I've since found this same brush there, alone, for about $6, and stocked up...it's glorious. Probably doesn't hold as MUCH water as a red sable, but it also doesn't break the bank. They have a nice sharp point, too...springy.

      And thanks for the further explanation, learning how other people work is so much fun...

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  6. I love the papery feel of the poppies. How did you add the detail that gave them this feel?
    (Can you tell I'm really new at this??)

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    Replies
    1. Mostly what I did was to look at the way the paint had dried on the paper and I darkened where it already appeared there where lines or if I had a big "blank" spot with very little or no texture, I would put in a few lines. In the darker areas, I lifted a few lines. It sounds like a lot, but really it isn't and it didn't take very long. I mostly let the paint do the work. Hope this helps!

      We're all new at some time or another—the important thing (for me) is to play and have fun!

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  7. Laure, love the Poppies! So fresh and loose. I love painting loose myself but I've never tried upside down.. will definitely try this out. Thanks for the tip!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sue, let us know how it turns out!

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  8. These are gorgeous, striking poppies - one day I will have a go at painting looser!

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