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  • Writer's pictureDale Jackson

Painting Blue Orchids with Watercolors

I decided to show my progress on a watercolor painting. Sometimes, I can get so overwhelmed and run into a huge mental block with a particular subject and/or medium. For me, it helps to completely jump ship and engage in an entirely different and new artistic challenge that's not in the least similar to my previous works. I call it "detoxing." For me, it helps my mind think in completely different ways. It's not that I don't enjoy oil painting, aviation and aerospace art, digital and 3D art. I love them! but there are times my brain gets dulled by overwork in the same medium and subject matter. Detoxing, in this understanding, helps my mind stay active in overcoming new challenges with mediums and subject matters that I'm not used to painting or drawing. I'm painting blue orchids in watercolors and also using watercolor pencils. Here is my progression of this piece:

1. Drawing in the basic shapes of the flowers with my Faber-Castell Graphite Aquarelle (water-soluble graphics pencils). For this painting, I'm using Gansai Tambi watercolors.

2. After laying down a very light wash of rose madder deep (No. 036) for areas I want to keep illuminated, I begin to detail the inner parts of the flowers with a deep blue with touches of purple. I'm using Prussian Blue (No. 066) with Imperial Violet (No. 038) here.

3. I apply washes of Malachite (No. 50) with veins of Prussian Blue (No. 066).

4. I start to add light and medium pigment washes of Cerulean Blue (No. 063) for the other flowers.

5. I start adding more washes of Malachite (No. 050) to the outer portions of the pedals on the orchids.

6. I further develop the veins in the pedals using Prussian Blue (No. 066) and Cerulean Blue (No. 063). I also start to detail the inner parts of the flower using Imperial Violet (No. 038) mixed with Prussian Blue (No. 066).

My watercolor color set: You can purchase this on Amazon here: (Kuretake GANSAI TAMBI 36 watercolor color set).

7. Adding the stems with Burnt Sienna (No. 046) and Raw Umber Deep (No. 047).

8. I continue deepening the blues here, adding more pigment than water in some cases.

9. Here, I'm starting to detail the other flower using the same pigments as stated above. There are a few spots of Cadmium Scarlet (No. 031) and Lemon Yellow (No. 040) mixed with the red in the upper right. The deep purple at the top is Imperial Violet (No. 038).

10. Refining color in the pedals.


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