Monday, November 12, 2012


After a great vacation, a wonderful art show for charity, and a cleaning of my studio, I have produced a new painting! Keep reading for the story of these poppies.....

"Always Remember...."
Acrylic on Canvas 20" x 20"

Back to for favourite subject to paint! Many have asked that I do a step-by-step account of a painting, and I took the opportunity to do exactly that while painting these oriental poppies from my garden.

Red is a pint that takes many coats to cover as the pigments used to make many red paints cause the paint to me more transparent than opaque. So I "cheated"....It probably would have taken 10+ coats of Cadmium Red to cover the white canvas, but by cheating and applying a basecoat of medium green to the canvas, I cut down the number of coats I needed of red.

This pix was taken after only 1 thin coat of Cad Red can now better see the patch of foliage that I did with a slip-slap wet-on-wet technique of Chromium Oxide Green, Hooker's Green, and Cadmium Yellow Deep.

I usually painting in thin layers, so I did 4 coats...I think I could have gotten away with only three, but they were pretty thin (almost glaze-like). Then I used chaulk to place the outlines of the flower petals and centres. The X's signify the dark black-purple blotches that appear on each of the 6 petals.

Shading and highlighting came next....I actually started with the highlights first...pure white paint using a thicker glaze. Then I mixed the Cad Red with a darker green (Hooker's Green...also one of my fav colours) for the shade. The first application of shading was done by dry brushing.

NOTE: Why do I keep speaking about green (other than the patch of green from the foliage in the background)? Green is the complement of Red, by adding some green to a red, you will deepen the red. The exact opposite works to darken a green, just add some red. It also helps when trying to "cheat" with the number of basecoats needed.

A second coat of highlighting and shading was needed. Again, another thin glaze of white for the highlights, and this time also a glaze of the shade mix to deepen the shadows.

I then added the first details to the flower centres with a mix of black, violet and a touch of white.

And then the multiple layers of washes blend the shading and highlighting with the original basecoat colour, I applied several thin washed of Cad Red over top of everything (except the centres). There are still more washes after this step will see the difference in the next two photos as more washes were applied.

I also added more details to the centres using various shadings of violet with a dry-brush stippling method. Outside the centre, the is a thick glaze of black.

More washes and more details in the centres....layers of everything. I have basecoated the violet-black blotches and then applied a dry-brush of lighter violet on top (sorry, can't quite see that in this pix, but you can in the final pix) to create depth and movement.

Final details....a bit more details in the shades with a glaze of the violet-black mix. Then the fun part for the obsessive compulsive that I am....thousands of small strokes in 3 shades of violet for ring of stamens surrounding the centre.

Many hours of drying time in-between layers over 2 days (November 11th and 12th) results in these lovely poppies....Lest we forget.....