When I found out the bouquet actually belonged to her friend and co-worker, Leslie, I knew it was back to the easel so Leslie could have a memento from her wedding on her desk as well. Using another photo from the wedding, I sketched the bouquet onto a 6" x 6" x 1.5" deep board. This time I painted the 1.5" deep cradled sides black because a darker color would help frame the painting better. I made my lines fairly heavy because I didn't want to lose them when the washes and glazes started.
You can see a hint of the two love birds kissing at the top of the painting. Sometimes the title for a painting comes to mind first. Well, usually the title comes first. See the yin/yang effect of the color washes below and how the couple's arms circle around beneath and behind the bouquet? The thing about using reference photos is that a good photo is low contrast and that's what professional photos are... low contrast. However, most successful paintings require a high contrast, so I had to invent my own contrast with this painting. The light will come in from the left and the shadow or darkest side will be on the right. The yin/yang effect is where light and dark meet in the middle of the bouquet.
Here's a photo of how it's starting to look. First, I went over the lines with magenta (love it when a little magenta peeks out around the edges) and then began the block-in, starting with the groom's coat. Typically, an oil painting starts building up from darks to lights. It's important to paint all over the canvas to create color harmony and blended strokes, so don't just concentrate on one small area and then another. Loosen up, hold the brush by the end, say en garde and work from the shoulder instead of from the wrist. It helps to have your favorite music playing in the background, too. This was painted to Diana Krall via Slacker internet radio's classic jazz station.
While looking at the reference photo, I noticed something that escaped me the first time I painted this bouquet. Leslie blinged her bouquet! There's a beautiful sparkly silver brooch in the middle and some of the flowers have blazes in their centers. Don't know how I'm going to capture that, but let's give it a whirl!
Stay tuned to "how the bouquet turns".