Friday, April 15, 2011

Painting Hydrangeas in a Basket

I had a mighty fine day yesterday, spent the morning in the company of friends and enjoying the sunshine.  The afternoon was spent in my greenhouse potting up more tomatoes, jalapenos, some baby broccoli, and some butterfly weed, but that is another post all together. 

A friend had some firewood she wished to be rid of and we have run out so I took our truck and we loaded it up.  I took some to my mom as she is out of wood too.  What a difference a warm fire in the woodstove makes, the heat is so comforting on a cold day.  Yes, it is still cold here in Northern California, Spring just does not want to warm up.  It was 24 degrees at first light but the birds were singing their Spring love songs so it sounded like Spring even if it did not feel like it!

I tried to do a step by step of a sign I am painting.  I find it hard as I get involved in my art and I just get immersed then forget to photograph steps.  That is probably why I did not do well in teaching decorative painting, I just could not enjoy it.  When I paint I have an image in my head and I just start painting and lose myself in it.  So here is my attempt at a step by step. 

I received an order for a sign with a basket of hydrangeas painted all in greens and whites.  The wording will be added later today but here it is so far.

I based painted the wood in a sage green then found a graphic of a basket for inspiration from one of my many painting books.

The basket here was not wide enough but it was merely an inspiration piece and easily expanded.  I did a light sketch on the wood and outlined it with a liner brush.

My palette.

 I use these foam plates from Costco, I have fancier palettes but I always go back to using these so I constantly have a stack of them in my studio.  A package lasts me a year or longer.  You can see the 2 pools of white, Wicker White and Ivory white that I will use for the basket weave.  I will double load the brush with the 2 colors.  I love Loew-Cornell’s Golden Taklon brushes, this is a 7300- #10 Shader brush.  I have to order them online as I have not found any at places like Michaels or JoAnn’s.  I need the higher quality brushes to get the effects in my decorative painting that I just can’t get with the cheaper quality brushes. 

I start the basket weave, alternating between rows.  Looks messy at first but it comes together.

Sometimes I make messy mistakes and have to figure a fix.  Sometimes that is where I will decide to put a leaf or a flower to cover my faux pas! 

It needs some more dimension so I add some charcoal to the palette to load on my brush with the whites, just a touch.

I just want the tip of the corner to pick up some of the charcoal..see the difference, it will blend in and add that bit of dimension I need. DSC_0018

It never fails, I get to a point in my painting that I say to myself, “Yuck, that just is lousy” and then remind myself that it all comes together in the end.  With decorative painting I am going for an effect not reality. 
Now for some leaves.  This one will take a larger wash brush. I think it is a 3/4 wash brush.  Two colors of green double loaded and worked into the brush.

I am still not liking these leaves but will have to go with it, the customer loves it so far and I go with their wishes.

Next comes the hydrangea blossoms.  I use a pouncer brush and some light green,  to pounce out an oval shape.DSC_0022

To get a blending of colors I use a glazing medium to mix with the green.

It keeps the under color wet so as I stroke on my flower petals in white you get subtle shades of the green coming thru. For the flowers I use the 5 petal little man strokes, you see a head, 2 arms and 2 legs.  I used a #8 filbert brush for these flowers.

You fill you brush with white paint. Push down, and as you pull towards the center of the flower you lift up.  I need to do some videos of these steps for you and am working on it.  We still need to get our tri-pod to hold the video camera.  It is stored at another location far, far away.

 You don’t need to pick up new paint every flower, you paint little flowers until there is too much green showing then you know to get new paint.  The glazing medium keeps it damp longer and workable.

Rats!  I got my sleeve in some of the leaf paint and smudged it on the sign board.  Thank goodness this is water base paint.  A little wet rag and a bit of rubbing it off works just fine.   Though I have had to paint over faux pas like this before. 


Ta Da!  All ready for the wording.

Another view

A close up. Oh, I forgot to mention that I put little dots in the middle of the flowers with a sage green. 

This is for a wedding.  I will be sure to share a photo of it completely done in a future post. 

As I was learning decorative painting I found videos much more educational that just still photos of the steps.  That is why I am working on doing some video tutorials of my methods and will eventually share them here for you all. 

I am still waiting for my order of chalk paint to  some furniture pieces with and can’t wait to get my hands on it. 

I hope you enjoyed this little attempt at a tutorial.  I know there is a lot here but you can get a drift of the steps in painting this sign.
For another Hydrangeas painting tutorial, CLICK HERE!

Another painting tutorial for your enjoyment

To see more of my signs check out my website  Just click on the watering can photo!
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  1. So very pretty. I get all lost up in the details and forget to just doesn't have to be perfect, effect not reality...good
    info to keep in mind..thank you for the tutorial.

  2. Your sign turned out very pretty! Thanks for the little picture tutorial. I've tried painting in the past but I just can't get the hang of it.

  3. This is so pretty and it's my fav flower!

  4. I of course love hydrangeas and now I can paint some as well! Thanks for the tutorial! Your sign turned out great!

  5. Amazing to see it come to life. I do not have an artistic bone in my body when it comes to painting.

  6. So pretty! Love your hydrangeas- you did a wonderful job painting them! Thanks for sharing at FNF! :)

  7. Very pretty! I wish I could paint like you ♥

  8. wow your pretty talented - I don´t think anybody could do that :)

  9. a great tutorial. very talented. thanks for sharing!


  10. Oh so very pretty! Hydrangeas are my fav.

    amber @ barbwired

  11. This is beautiful! You did a great job painting! I am your newest follower! Come visit!

  12. so pretty, now i wanna paint some hydrangeas!

  13. Your painting is just beautiful! So glad to have the tutorial! Thanks so much for sharing at the Tuesday To Do party! Looking forward to seeing what you've been up to this week!

  14. I love this so much! I'm your newest follower.

  15. I love it, absolutely beautiful:-)
    Hugs, Biljana


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