Lilac Fragrance, Lilac Bouquet

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Step One:
I’ve given myself a four pigment challenge this time. I’ll be using Azo Yellow, Antwerp Blue, Quinacridone Coral, and Quinacridone Rose for this bowl of lilacs.
Step One: Block in the main colors. Some of the lilacs will be white. I’m excited to contrast the bright, bold tablecloth against the cool colors in my lilacs.
lilacs-step1

Step Two:
I’ve started defining the crystal bowl and the table cloth. It will take lots of cross-eyed scrutiny to make that bowl look like crystal. Also, the darker lilacs are beginning to take shape. I’m still debating on how much white area to leave. I will have a hard time getting that fresh white back if I paint over it.
The upper right corner is a big problem. My strongest value contrast shouldn’t be in the corner. I’ll need to soften that.
lilacs-step2
Detail:
I am painting these lilacs on Arches Hot-pressed board.
Hot pressed watercolor surfaces are iron-on-smooth and it almost feels like painting on bond paper. The surface doesn’t suck up water as fast as cold press papers allowing you time to play around more, but controlling paint is harder than on cold pressed paper. I would not recommend hot press paper for beginners.
lilacs-detail
Step 3:
I’m back to work on the lilacs. Most of my time has been spent on the round vase and tablecloth. I’ve also been defining the white lilacs a little more.
Problems: The obvious diamond shape in the white lilacs, and the overall shape of the bouquet. There is a uniformity in the flowers that I find quite boring. It needs to be broken up. Also, this surface has been a challenge. The board had been sitting in my studio for a while and the surface has deteriorated quite a bit. In some places it feels like I’m painting on a paper towel. I’ll toss the rest of these boards.
lilacs-step3
Done!
I darkened the left side where the tablecloth meets the vase (great suggestion from a friend) bounced some reflected color up into the lilacs (which doesn’t show in this photo), broke up the diamond shape a bit, and added more shape to the vase.
It’s time to walk away!
lilacs-done