Monday, 7 October 2013

What Next?....Collections Series, Week 1

Having finished the 30 Day Challenge last week, it feels like it shouldn't be over yet! So after a few days away in beautiful Amsterdam and a visit to the newly refurbished Rijksmuseum I was inspired to carry on!
The Rijksmuseum has a wonderful collection but there wasn't nearly enough time to see it all. However they've taken the unusual step of making the works in the collection available for download. There's also an App to use during your visit but I was a bit slow and missed this opportunity. When I arrived home I explored their website and discovered that you can make your own collections of favourite works! Here's my collection. I haven't included the obvious paintings  ( there are just too many!) but instead focused on botanical and nature themed works for the purpose of this blog.
 As you can see I particularly like the idea of multiple natural objects in paintings and illustrations. With all of this in mind I decided to head out again and collect more subject material and get back to the painting as soon as possible.

Collection no. 1 Three Rose Hips

My plan is to create paintings of small, and not so small, Collections of natural objects. Here's my first offering as part of the Collections Series, Three Rose Hips. It's a fairly simple same subject painting to start with and while I'm not really sure whether 'three' constitutes a collection or not,  I've added it anyway while I give the whole idea more thought. I won't be posting a painting everyday for the Collections, but will instead post one painting each week for the foreseeable future. 
This work isn't painted in quite so much detail as my usual approach but it felt as though it didn't  need any more work. Although I may add some hairs to the sepals at some point.
I like the 'traffic light' colouring - not seen a rose hip quite as orange as the one top left before, these hips  are usually either green or red and not seen so much at the 'in between' colour, so thought it was a good little collection.

The really good thing about the 30 Day Challenge was that it gave me the opportunity to try lots of different subjects in quick succession. Now that it's over I want to revisit some of those subjects and think about how to use them in my work. Normally at this time of year I'm regretting the fact that I didn't get to paint all the things that I wanted during the time when there is an abundance of subject material to choose from in summer and early autumn. ...I don't have that feeling this year, so it's a positive result for the 30/30 approach. Must also thank all of the other artists that joined in with the Challenge on the Botanical Artists Facebook Group, without their enthusiasm I may not have reached the finish line.       

More subject material for the Collections

Paint Colours: I decided to try out some Sennelier tubes that I've had for some time. I don't like tubes as a rule because of all the Gum Arabic and mixers in it. The pigment ratio is lower than in pans and I find that they have a bit of a greasy feel to them. Also they don't lend themselves to dry brush work as well as pans. So better suited for painters that use more washes but they should be used and not wasted.

 Orange rose hip: Cadmium Red Light mixed with Cadmium Yellow and a small amount of Cadmium Yellow Orange.  Built up in layers with a more yellow biased mix laid down first. I added a small amount of Ultramarine Deep for the shadows. In the final stages I used a little dry brush work with a more red biased mix for the darker areas.

Red rose hip: This one was almost like a jelly sweet, very vibrant red. I reverted to the W & N to add some Permanent Rose to the Sennelier Cadmium Red Deep. For the shadow I added Carmine Genuine and a small amount of Ultramarine Deep to the mix and applied using dry brush so as not to make the red dirty looking.

Green rose hip and other greens: This rose hip is just starting to change colour. I used the pre mixed  Sap Green, which isn't something that I normally do and added Cadmium Lemon. For the shade I added Ultramarine deep and a Carmine Genuine to take the brightness away. I used varying mixes of these colours for the warmer ( more yellow biased ) and cooler ( more blue biased) greens. I added a small amount of the orange mix used for the Orange rose hip.
 For the filaments and anthers I reverted to W & N Burnt Sienna and added to Neutral Tint for the darker areas and negative space.


  1. I enjoyed following you and the others on the 30 day challenge. I hope to join in next time. Great idea about the collections series--I look forward to seeing more! The rose hips are quite luscious.

    1. Thanks Janene, I'm not really sure this really qualifies as a 'collection' but I'm heading in that direction for the next one. It was fun doing the 30/30 challenge and hope to do it again - be great if you could join in next time :)

  2. Great post again Dianne - I am enjoying your frequent blogging! I love this collection thing you found in Amsterdam and admire your chosen pieces for your personal collection. Rory would have liked it too I am sure. Lots of Dutch tulips! I too dislike tubes. The only thing I like is that they don't get dusty like my pans. I always squirt tonnes out and then leave to dry on a plate which tends to help with the gum Arabic situation. I'll never forget the first tube I used and how it squirted this transparent gupe for what seemed like ages until I finally reached a bit of pigment. Its was horrible - all shiny and actually ruined the painting because I couldn't 'get rid' of it completely. Lesson learned there... :S

    1. Thanks Jess, yes there's heaps of Gum Arabic in the tubes it comes pouring out especially in the Yellow! Bit of a false economy too given that they have only a fraction of the pigment. I think they probably get used up a lot quicker than pans. I find it get lighter fresher layers with pans and a heavier brighter look with tubes. Although I suspect that it's really a matter of personal preference though for differing painting styles rather than one being better than the other. If you like lots to use of water then tubes are probably the way to go, in general botanical painters are a water conservers :) These Sennelier paints have honey in them I think? I had a taste of the green yesterday when curiosity got the better of me ( I know I won't do it again! ) it's very sweet! but maybe that the gum arabic? Good job they're not quite as nasty as in the old days!