Saturday, 29 March 2014

Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae) - with step-by-step progress images

Some time ago I had another go to this beautiful flower. It is the strange combination of colors (including orange, blue, purple, green and yellow) and the multi-directional distribution of its parts that attracts me very much. Again, the reference photo is from the WDE event on WetCanvas, and I would like to express my gratitude to Bonnie for sharing the photo of this beautiful flower with us.

I started with a small sketch, which doesn't say much, but I was only looking to figure out the crop (the reference photo was much larger, including much more foliage) and the major shapes to include in my painting.

In the next step I had the drawing of the selected crop and major elements done on the watercolor paper (10x7 inches, Waterford 140 CP). As you will notice, I did a few changes to the background elements when transferred the drawing, and I eliminated some of the initial background elements.

Then started the color washes, with the background and the most far green leaf. The basic watercolor paints used for this painting are a selection from W&N (French Ultramarine, Cobalt Blue, Cadmium Red, Hooker Green, Aureolin), Daniel Smith (Hansa Yellow Deep, Quinacridone Magenta).

The next step was dedicated to establish the final background color, a rather cool green grey, which would contrast with the warm color of the Strelitzia petals. In addition, I worked the far leaf into detail, and worked the first wash on the left leaf.

I added another wash to the left leaf and the first washes to the flower elements, starting with the most far ones or the ones that do not overlap.

Then I finished the left leaf, and further worked on the flower.

The pre-final step, where the flower petals are worked into detail:

And the last step was to add some shadows from the flower on the leafs, to push more the flower:

I had a lot of fun painting this beautiful flower, and I hope you enjoyed the journey too!

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