Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Yellow Tulips

This is the May 2010 Rookie Painter challenge. It's oil on 10"x12" canvas board.

This web site has good still life challenges. The reference picture had a pot of tulips, with a yard chair and deck in the background. I decided I was just going to paint the flowers, with its leaves. The pot, the chair, the deck were too much noise for me. I wanted to show delicate flower petals under the sun, and I wanted to show leaves as they made the flowers "dance". I decided to use a dark background for a strong contrast with the flowers, and to make the flowers "pop". (It's actually black mixed with ultramarine blue and violet. It's kinda hard to see.)

It took me a couple of hours of careful sketching, especially on the leaves. I had to artificially shrink the stems from the reference photo so everything will fit onto my canvas. I wanted to make sure the middle flower does not fall in the middle of the canvas but yet the flowers are big enough to catch the eyes and yet keeping the proportion. I had also to decide what leaves to keep or not keep in the painting. The placements of the leaves are somewhat different from the reference photo now I shrunk the stems.

I did a quick underpainting, flowers and stems in yellow orchre acrylic, and background in mars black and ultramarine blue acrylic. With the color, leaves I used tree green and sap green, darken with complimentary red color, while the flowers I used cadmium yellow on the warm part, lemon yellow and my new Gamblin radian yellow on the sunny part with lots of white, darken with complimentary purple. I used Kolinsky brushes number 1 and 2.

It took me a few hours to do just the leaves. I thought to myself, man, these leaves sure are complicated, with so many shapes and shades. The leaves could be an abstract painting on their own! The flowers were relatively easier, although I had to make sure I didn't add too much purple to make the shadows too strong.

I'm glad the painting turned out ok. I kinda like the middle flower jumping out at you. I was also glad I had my Kolinsky brushes whose tips go back to shape, unlike some of my other brushes where the tip frizzes out after a while.


  1. Beautiful painting, lovely cropping, and thank you to share your process!

  2. Thank you Sylviane for your nice comments! I enjoy doing some of these web challenges.