Floral Noise #1 & #2
I decided to "just do it" and open these old, but unopened pack of watercolours I received from a friend some years ago. I know. YEARS ago. I think I was waiting to "be good" at painting before opening these as I had a much cheaper, chalkier palette I was frankly quite satisfied with. It turns out I just didn't know what I was missing out on!
I wouldn't say the brand (Artist's Loft) is one used by professionals, but it was a HUGE step up from that dollar-store palette and I probably can’t go back. The pigments are so much more concentrated and saturated. I can get away with such a thick, rich colour in just one layer and less water! Speaking of water…
Not only #mixing colours, but finding the appropriate #ratio of #water-pigment was new to me. The “watered down”/#diluting process was new to me as my old #chalky palette didn’t change tooooo much when I added more/less water. I could be wrong, but if there was a different, I definitely didn’t notice it as much as I did with these new paints.
I found a new challenge: the process of adding more water was easy, but sometimes I added too much and wanted more of that pigment back. I know what you’re thinking… just squeeze out some more paint! However, my notebook and current paintings are VERY small, and I feel pretty bad with wasting material ><”. So I’ve been trying to be patient and just slowly add water until it seems right. This would mean I can work with more and more diluted paints, but not the other way around… It might bite me back in the future but I’ll work with that for now.
This weekend, I wanted to get started with a concept I’ve wanted to create for a little while: #floral_noise. I feel like if I created a band, its name would sound something like that. A beautiful mix of contradicting(?) words. Visually, I’ve been wanting to learn how to paint flowers and plants. I just love that soothing earthy aesthetic of greenery and floral patterns. But instead of just drawing flowers, I thought maybe it would be fun to incorporate something else I love: noise?
Well… not really. But what is noise? The opposite of music? But... what is music? By definition, it seems rather subjective, defined by the pleasantness (or lack thereof) to the listener. So I guess, by noise, I just mean things that make sounds. So many things! My first thought was more obvious objects that are designed to produce sound… like musical instruments and music-playing technology… but can’t you make sound with… just about anything?
Floral Noise #1: Succulent + Cassette Tape
I actually started re-potting one of my plants when I decided to start painting and picked the cassette tape as my “object of noise”. The “floral” component… well, this succulent doesn’t produce flowers but oh well ><” This is one of my favourite household plants right now. It started out as this stubby thing and as it’s gone through a few moves between and within households, it’s grown to be very twisted and tangled. Like cassette tape when you (shouldn’t) have pulled it out!
Pencil Sketch / Ink Outline and Shading
I forgot to take more pictures because this was so fun! I think I struggle with drawing folded leaves/petals. The dried leaves I drew look a bit flat and awkward. I’m not sure how to make them look more “naturally” curled. Maybe some shadowing would’ve helped, and colour always does too.
I love colour! And these new paints certainly allowed for that. I squeezed out WAY more than I needed. It was definitely a bit of a shock just how concentrated the colours were compared to my old paints. I think the succulent in this painting is perhaps too bright (relatively, when looking at the balance(?) of the entire picture). I definitely added too much water to the purple which looks a bit lighter than I wanted it to. But alas, I did not want to squeeze out more when there was so little surface area that I wanted to be purple. Bad. I know. But these are all just little fun experiments anyway! You can sort of tell I started painting purple from left to right as the purple gets more and more light towards the bottom right. Just look at how strong, dark, and royal the purple on the top left “dried” leaf looks! I also added a touch of that golden ochre colour (the tube’s label is “yellow ochre”) on the stubs where the leaves have fallen off. Overall, this was really fun, and I have lots to learn!
Floral Noise #2: Carnation + Gramophone
Fun fact! I just learned this! Gramophones are a later evolved type of phonograph with some part by Alexander Grahan Bell. I turns out that phonographs were earlier machines that reproduced sound but also recorded sound, first with cylinders before flat discs seen today. Gramophones mostly now refer to mechanical/wind-up record players (vs. electrical record players). So, I guess what I’ve drawn is more accurately described as a gramophone.
I’ve been following lots of artists on Instagram and a few of them do these really neat step-by-step drawings to show their process and I thought I’d try drawing myself with these references. Who else than artists consistently creating and practicing to learn from?
For the gramophone, I picked a carnation and tried following these steps from a favourite Instagram account: alicelovesdrawing.
Pencil Sketch / Ink Outline and Shading
I think my attempt looks... ok? The first few steps definitely helped with getting the overall shape of the flower. I thought it would be neat to shape one of the leaves as the stylus/needle that rests on the record.
I used some of the excess green I squeezed out from the previous day’s painting and decided on a fringed edge purple carnation. I’m not sure if it’s my paintbrush, as I’m primarily just using one, but I definitely felt I was progressively getting better with thinner strokes on the flower. I was a little worried at first it would be a huge mess as I was painting with too much water on my brush, which produced a few blotchier blobs rather than delicate striations. I think I could’ve went over it more than twice but I got scared it would become messy. It could definitely use other tones of colour but I think the darker and lighter purples here don’t look too bad for a first attempt.
The box itself was interesting as I didn’t want the entire thing one dull colour. I used some different browns and decided to add some highlights with green and purple. You can’t really see the hand crank and I wonder if I should’ve actually let some “white space” surrounding it so it wouldn’t blend in as seem so invisible. Perhaps something to try next time!
What should be the next floral and noisy idea?