As promised, here are the step-by-step photos taken during the painting of Mugs and Mums. This was a scene I photographed at a cute little cafe that had just opened in Venice, Florida, called the Blu Island Bistro. The morning sun was streaming into the glass-cased sunroom, where little bouquets of fresh flowers in square vases were positioned on each table. We had a wonderful breakfast there and I highly recommend the place!
Step 1. I have been getting lazy about drawing lately, so I created a black & white "template" of the photo by printing it out lightly on plain copy paper. I then traced this using Saral graphite transfer paper onto a quarter sheet of stretched 140 lb Arches cold-pressed paper. I feel that if you know you can draw accurately, you do not have to prove it each time you want to paint! On the other hand, drawing by hand might result in a picture with more character, and I would never discourage it.
Step 2. Next I put masking fluid (Daler Rownery) on the flowers because the spider mum was going to be difficult to paint around. Also I did a light background wash using quinacridone gold to represent the sunlit areas of the table. I splattered some water on the wet wash to variegate it with backruns. I began to paint in the bottom of the square glass vase.
Step 3. Now I had fun painting the mugs. I used cerulean blue to get a little granulation going, plus cobalt blue and quinacridone gold. I splattered a little paint on the picture with my brush.
Step 4. Here I started suggesting the streaks of sunlight. So important to get enough value contrast!
Step 5. To get the flowers to really stand out, I knew I had to get dark enough in the background. I wanted the big shadow (from the windowsill) to have a soft edge, because it is being cast from farther away (check the original photo above). I painted in the napkin roll on the left, and suggested the one on top with purple, but took this out later. Again, I purposely used backruns to create interest in this shadow area.
Step 6. Now I started painting in the mums. For the white mums. I used some purplish, yellowish shadows, while for the green spider mum, I just mixed a bright green and filled in the spaces. Here are all the colors I used in this painting: Winsor & Newton cerulean blue, cobalt blue medium, permanent violet, quinacridone gold, Hansa yellow by Da Vinci (an arylide yellow), and peacock blue by Holbein (a thalo blue).
Step 7. I added the tea or coffee (whichever you prefer) using quin gold. Also added the flower centers with a mixture of dark colors. I went back into the mugs and tried to suggest a more glossy surface by glazing with some hard edges (glossy surfaces have more hard edges reflected, while matte surfaces have soft internal edges). I also painted the rest of the windowsill shadow on the top side, plus suggested the edge of the table with a strong dark. While the big wash was wet, I spattered the picture with some cerulean blue. I love to do that! This is as far as I have gotten. I am thinking of adding a tea bag or a spoon in the upper left, sort of hidden behind the blue mug.
|Susan Avis Murphy, AWS Mugs and Mums 9x13"|
Sue, ARThouse Studio School, February 28, 2012