Sunday, April 8, 2012

Pansy Seed Pod "Openings"

Leslie again.  I consider myself a constant gardener:  always observing the cycles of change in that environment.  That said, the garden continually provides me with little "surprises" along the way.  Take the humble, beautiful pansy.  I never realized the pansy seed pod was so strikingly beautiful, probably because the pods are so small.
here is a partially-open seed pod, hiding amongst the pansies and chard
here is a full, seed-laden pansy seed pod.  I adore it!
This satisfies my obsession with circles, things pressed together, and more!

I made a very basic drawing based on two photographs:  one of the partially open seed pod (seen above) and of my pansy blossom.  I masked certain elements of the drawing with frisket to preserve the white paper color.
I'm using a limited palette of M. Graham gouache paints.
I popped the watercolor pans out of this little travel paintbox and squeezed in the gouache.
Before painting, I dripped water into each pan to allow the paint to soften up.

Using the edge of the wood carving tool I applied frisket, a latex resist, to areas of the drawing and allowed it to dry.

Once the frisket was dry I began to apply "washes" of color to the background.

When I was ready to begin working into the seed pod, I simply peel off the frisket!

Same with the pansy blossom:  keeping the frisket intact while filling the color in helped me 
maintain the edge.

Working light to dark, I fill in the shadows around the individual seeds

more frisket removal....

painting some background leaf veins

Now, I am using the edge of my wood tool to etch some additional veining into the paper.
When I wash more color across the area, the paint will attract to the etched areas.

When using water media, remember that water "has a memory":  if I wash in a specific area
I can add more drops of paint and it will be contained in that area.  Always have a clearly defined 
wet-to-dry edge for this to work.

Sorry this is turned sideways, but here is the finished painting, followed by 2 details


  1. I just LOVE this: the garden admiration, the pansies, the pod I didnt know about either, and your beautiful process. Thank you!!

  2. just beautiful and lovely to see the creative process!

  3. Lovely work and great photos! Thank you for showing us your process.

  4. Thanks for the wonderful tutorial, Leslie. I bought liquid and paper frisket when I first took a class with Ms. Melly Mels, and have yet to find the time to learn how to use them. You've got me pumped to try it!

  5. What a great tutorial, Leslie! Makes me want to rush out to my garden and find pansies... Oops, I'd have to plant them first! :-). But I love what you've done!

  6. Pansies are considered "winter" flowers here in San Antonio. I have really enjoyed my pots of bright pansies combined with the multi-colored chard. It has added a colorful element to a more subdued palette this past winter.
    I hope you will try the frisket! It is a handy tool for the water-media artist.

  7. This is beautiful and love your techniques. I can't believe I have not done anything for the sketchbook challenge but yesterday did a dried seed pod painting. My first I have ever done but may still put it up as my first attempt. Thanks for sharing your techniques.

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  9. Wonderful, I love that you showed your study photos and your works. I love that seed pod too!

  10. Thanks for the tutorial - the painting is gorgeous! I love water color but really struggle painting with it.

  11. So gorgeous!!! Love seeing how you used the frisket - thanks for sharing!

  12. Thank you. Showing how you did this was an immense to this painting newbie!

    Airy Nothing


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