More than a little heavy-handed


So the thing about botanical watercolors is that they are supposed to be delicate. Lots of slow, delicate layers on top of each other to build up to something vibrant and realistic and glorious.

I am the equivalent of the bull in the china shop. I always want to speed things up, and I am dreadfully heavy-handed. Not that my work doesn’t come out nice enough, but it isn’t in the same league as the botanical greats. Nor is it likely to be until I can listen to the instructors who tell me to slow down.

My current botanical painting is one I started in the time where I forgot how to paint and spring felt like it was never coming, so I was working off a photo instead of a live specimen and it wasn’t working and I put it away. Since I am trying to use the summer to come back to half-forgotten projects I took it out to revisit it. It came out nice enough, but doesn’t have the detail that it would if I’d had something live to look at. However, that frustration combined with the whole part where I really wish it was possible to do them quickly meant that I then took a different half finished one and decided if I was going to be heavy-handed anyway, I may as well go for broke. So I got lavish with the blue and did what I thought was a cute little sketch (or at least one that relieved my feelings considerably). Then I scanned it and it looked terribly flat and dull.

So then I thought maybe I had twisted my brain, since it didn’t look THAT bad when I looked at it, but clearly it was wishful thinking.

However, then I completed and scanned the one below–and it ALSO looks flat and dull and muddy and not very satisfying:


So then I took an image with my phone camera and it looks so much livelier!

It is still a heavy-handed botanical painting, but apparently my scanner has decided to be heavy-handed, as well. Frankly, I don’t find the compound effect all that helpful. Sadly, there is no place in town were I can get a good scan, and I can’t afford to drive to Minneapolis to get it scanned there every time I complete a painting. So this is a reminder to us all that you can’t trust the images you see, no matter what–In person is always better!  Hrmph!

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