Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Milly's Progress

With the recent activity on a some botanical art blogs about white backgrounds, I am trying to teach myself how to change this horrible grey background on photoshop. However I am not getting very far. I will watch some of the video's available online tomorrow and see if they enlighten me. For now though, I'm posting Milly's grey background... unless someone can give me a step by step in the comments? If you do I would be VERY grateful as I am starting to pull my hair out!

So this is Milly after one day of painting - the first day! It's always good doing the first bit, as it's the most risky. Now I have done the scary bit feel I can keep going. Milly is a dark purple-red (the image I posted of her here is too red and doesn't show her true colour and the image above of her has come out more purple that the real thing - yep, I cam having trouble with my camera!).

I have had to use masking fluid to block out her markings. I don't like to use it and rarely do (am still convinced that it's a form of cheating), but with the wet washes I need to apply to her bottom petal the masking fluid has become an essential material. Milly so far as has a wash of Red Madder, a 6 alternating washes of mixed Winsor Violet and Red Madder and Permanent Rose (on it's own).

Grapes in pencil - F, B, HB, 4B and 8B used in this study

I am also cracking on with the sketchbook work still, which I am really enjoying now. It's very satisfying completing work as part of a collection.


  1. Jess it's looking so good ... and the grapes are stunning pencil work ... am happy to give you a step by step when you have time, you have enough to do for now ...

  2. You and me both Jess. Trying to get to grips with Photoshop is a full time job in itself.

  3. Jess, using masking fluid is no cheating. You have to be able to apply the fluid in all the right places, just like you would paint. And you have to make it look natural when all is finished... definitelly not cheating:) Am looking forward to follow the development, it is looking very good :)

  4. The whole gray tone background when it's supposed to be white is a pain. I stuggle with that every single time...I really like the grapes study in pencil, too...I've been toying with the idea of doing one in colored pencil, especially after seeing the fabulous watercolor you have in your FB photo album. Loved that...

  5. Thanks Alena - I guess I just think of the old masters and I wonder if they ever used something like masking fluid and I always conclude that they didn't, so I end up feeling like I am 'cheating'. Silly really. Hope all is good your end in your studio.

  6. Hi Rebecca! Go for it with the grapes! I'd recommend doing a tonal first. I kind of wish I had done. I am doing everything in the wrong order and doing tonal's after the paintings. I am a bit like that though. When it comes to art I am not organised at all. Look forward to seeing your grapes if you do do them. Sounds exciting!