Sunday, April 19, 2015

On an Upward Crawl on the Learning Curve ...

A watercolor by Chen-Wen Cheng

Another of his works

Reference photo - I just happened to be at the library a few weeks ago when the magnolia out front was in full bloom.

Start with thin washes of quin. gold and indanthrone blue, trying to integrate the subject with the background.

More of the same ...

More thin washes, with a touch of quin. burnt orange for the base of the flower and in the mixture for the branches. I added a second branch to make a break in the expanse over which I have to do a w/w application. It has turned out to be better compositionally.

I think I'm getting it, but I have a long way to go till I feel comfortable using this technique.

In my computer photo library, I have a section titled "Inspiration". There are about a hundred images of watercolors I love, paintings from which I want to learn. Chen-Wen Cheng is a Taiwanese painter, a master of integrating background with subject. I became frustrated with the latest horse painting, and it finally hit the shower [literally] a few days ago. There are so many times, when I am working on a painting, that I wish I could successfully soften and almost fuse some of the subject with the background. So I started the magnolia yesterday as an exercise to practice this method ... and there will be many more!!!

Thank you for dropping by! 


  1. Soon it will be in full bloom!

  2. This painting is going to be a stunner. The Magnolia is such a beautiful flower!

  3. I have an inspiration folder too - Great idea! And your flower looks wonderful! :0)

  4. Really nice colour, Kathrn.
    Looks gorgeous.I really want to see how you paint like this.

  5. Gorgeous.. great idea about the inspirational folder. Wow .. love to you,Diana

  6. It´s looking amazing allready! Looking forward to the rest.

  7. I LOVE the new and improved Drake, Kathryn...the softness in the foreground makes such a difference!
    It was a good idea to put it aside for awhile until you figured it out!!! love it!
    Your magnolia is amazing! I can't imagine how you do this...a great technique!!! I can't wait to see this one finished!