February 6, 2010

73. Covered

I follow the same technique in all the iris paintings. All these pieces are done on a black surface. These days, I paint exclusively on black, excepting the snowscapes that were done on a blue underpainting. With my largest brush, I do a very rough, loosely detailed background. In most of the cases, the background is quite dark, and is a mix of sap green, olive green, burnt sienna and some yellow ochre.

After the background dries, I sketch with a small brush directly on the board. I am not aiming for a realistic look at all, so I don't bother about the accuracy of my sketch. This series is all about color and texture, so I just go with the flow. I do a loose sketch, with flaws and all.

Copper Iris

Palette Knife on Board, 5 * 7 inches
© Nithya Swaminathan

It is now that we start the actual painting. I first do a heavily textured layer of the entire flower with the palette knife. This is done in the direction of the petals. The most amazing thing that I discovered was that when I use the knife in the direction of the petals, the end result is almost like veins on the flower. This thing works wonderfully for an iris, because almost any iris has its veins clearly visible. If I were working with a brush I'd probably be marking some veins with a thin brush, but here there is no such fuss. The knife does it better than any brush. And then some tweaks are done with a brush, which results in a loose enough but not so abstract painting!


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