1st Painting 30×30 Direct Watercolor Challenge – Birthday Peonies

Peonies with Source

Birthday Peonies. Click to see a larger view

Alrighty then. I said I’m in for a Facebook group challenge to paint 30 paintings in 30 days. The kicker? All paintings are meant to be painted “directly” or without any drawing. The rules actually say, little to no drawing. I’m going with no drawing from start to finish. For the month of June, the admins have suggested wet into wet painting, as well. As if no drawing wasn’t enough of a challenge, right?

I was busy partying for my June 1st birthday (1st in the June Bug race, I am), so I started the challenge on June 2nd instead. From here on out I will try to paint one painting a day. Exciting! But a little daunting, since I’m teaching two classes this month as well. I can do it.

My lovely friend brought me some peony buds for the birthday bash, so my first subject was a no brainer. They may be painted again since the buds continue to open.

My process. I began by saturating my 300 lb, quarter sheet, Artistico Fabriano paper completely. I let the paper sit in the water for about 10 minutes, while I gathered supplies and prepared my colors. I dried back the paper a bit to take off the sheen.

I used Quinacridone Rose, Quinacridone Red and Cobalt Blue for the pink peonies. Raw Sienna Light, Hansa Yellow Medium, a bit of the reds, and Cobalt blue for the white flower shadows. Cascade Green skewed to yellow with raw sienna light or the Hansa, or skewed to blue-green with the Cobalt (all Daniel Smith brand pigments this time). I used the blue, quin red, and raw sienna to create a neutralized purple to call out the back edge of the far white peony.

I used a 1 1/2″ flat brush to wet the paper, a #14 Lowe-Cornell red-striped, pointy Round brush for most of the painting. I added the last finesse strokes with an Alvaro Castagnet Calligraphy brush. That’s it, all I can remember. But the video below may “tell” you more?

I worked the painting in three stages; 1) wet weak pigment and the paper very wet (wet paper creates lost edges), 2) middle medium strength pigment to form the big shadow shapes as the paper started to dry (soft edges), and 3) saving the file detail strokes and splatter with thick pigment for the very end, after the paper was at the “mostly-damp-almost-dry” stage (hard edges).

I will see if I can maintain painting strictly from life for the whole month as well? I created an accelerated video (no narration this time). Enjoy. Tell all your friends. Ha! Just click the white arrowhead below.

If you’re interested in purchasing this painting ($200), it is 15″x11″ watercolor on 300lb Artistico Fabriano watercolor paper. Thank you in advance. I use PayPal as my payment processor. You do NOT need a PayPal account to purchase. Shipping cost is only if purchasing through PayPal (check payments will incur additional shipping charges). Taxes are additional, where applicable.


Your comments, questions and suggestions are most welcome. Thank you for stopping by.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *