Yesterday when I woke up, the view outside my window was not the same color as when I went to bed. When I glanced out the window, it looked like this —
I’m not quite ready to start the four to five months of winter that we typically get here (ack!), so let’s think back to a garden full of summer flowers when the view outside looked more like this —
Ah, wasn’t summer nice? Especially all the flowers.
Although I called this post “From Sketch to Painting,” my painting process is not that straightforward. I don’t sketch out an idea, paint it up, and boom, then I’m done. My paintings are never planned out ahead of time. I just explore and try out different colors, shapes and patterns. (Read about How I Paint for more about my process.)
When I’m working on a painting that just needs some interesting shape added to it, my “in the creative flow mode” brain often likes to have a menu of choices to select from. I usually have a group of inspiration pages hanging above my work space.
If none of these are quite right, I can flip through the rest of my collection and (hopefully) find just the right thing to add. (Or at least, something to try.)
These inspiration pages are quick little sketch-like paintings of flowers, leaves, tree branches and other shapes. Sometimes I do these sketches from photos, but often I will go out and paint from life in my garden.
I find it works better to “sketch” with paint and a brush, because the thin lines of a pen or pencil sketch don’t translate that well to paint. However, painting these sketches outside involves wandering around juggling a clipboard, papers, paint and a brush so I only bring one color of paint for sketching. That’s why there are green flowers in the ones below!
I really like Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan) flowers, as you can see in the garden photo above. They are happy flowers, easy to grow and great painting subjects. Here’s a photo of some Rudbeckia Goldsturm buds before they’ve really started blooming. I sketched these plants, trying to capture the patterns of how the stems and leaves grow (painted from life so it doesn’t quite match the photo).
Then I used this sketch for inspiration while painting. A few of the leaves got switched to the other side.
The final painting ended up looking like this.
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Here are the steps all together. It’s not just the leaves and stems that were based on a sketches in this painting. The large yellow flowers are Rudbeckia blossoms from a different sketch.
Flowers blooming in the garden. Sketched Rudbeckia blossoms and that same painting. I used the two largest flowers in the painting, but can you tell that I swapped them around? The sketched flowers are slightly tipped away from each other, but in the painting I wanted them to tilt towards the center.
I used the flowers from this sketch again in a different painting, only this time I changed the petals to be longer and more pointed.
Well, and I changed the flower color too, but I never worry about pesky details like realistic flower shades in my paintings. That’s why I call them abstract florals!
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- The Creative Process and Painting
- My Artistic Creative Process: Leaves, a Butterfly and Perseverance while Painting