Saturday, December 31, 2011

Painting my Orchid - step by step by Barbara Rudolph


Click on images to see them larger

Starting with my blank white canvas size 32x44", I painted black gesso over the entire canvas.  Then one of my favorite tricks that will add a nice little bit of a "shimmer" in my under painting comes next.  I paint in random strokes of metallic gold paint.  Each layer has to dry completely, especially the black gesso, which I allow to dry overnight.    When using oil paint, even more drying time is necessary.  This technique can be done in either acrylic or oils however.



The next step is to paint in swirls of colors.  I was going for a "brilliant aqua blue" background, so the colors I chose were bold and bright.  This is the fun part, but it is important not to cover up all of the black.  I often paint with a lot of dark colored backgrounds in my work in order to create drama and focus on the subject matter such as musical instruments or books.  I am getting ready for the 2012 "Celebration of Fine Art" show in two weeks.  I want to have a painting with a bright pop of color to catch the interest of  those walking past my studio in hopes they will stop in for a closer look.  Since so many of my latest paintings are darker in color, I thought this one would do the trick.  (We will see).

 Here is a close up of the swirls of colors being careful
not to cover up all of the black area



The next phase is to "blend" in my colors to create a nice soft misty background.  All the time spent on the under painting is necessary to create the various shades and values to the background.  I even added a bit of finely ground metallic powder pigment to give it a luminous effect.  I also use Liquin medium for blending.  Use in a well ventilated area if you can.



 Then I placed my beautiful live "orchid" in front of my dry painting background to photograph.  I took tons and tons of pictures.  I then went through them all and selected my favorite one for the actual "oil painting".        
The image above is an example of just one of the many images I took.


 Then I chalked in my "orchid" and began to paint it in oil here.  I used my own photograph for reference.  This is not a really tight painting, much looser than I normally paint, so it was fun.   This whole process actually started a couple of months ago with all of the drying time etc.

It wouldn't be complete however without a "bird." 





 Just a small detail here.
A "chestnut sided warbler" painted in sitting on the 
"orchid" branch.



"My messy studio"
Stand back and have a look.....Is it done?

I think so


I think I will call it "On The Wild Side."  It will be available at the "Celebration of Fine Art" show on January 14th.  Opening is right around the corner now so I better get back to painting.

I hope you can stop by the show.  For information about this show click on the link below.

Happy New Year,
Barbara Rudolph

Celebration of Fine Art
My website
email me





3 comments:

Ken Newman Sculpting on the Road said...

Wow! Looking forward to showing my sculptures next to your bird paintings this you... You continue to evolve - we are soooo proud of you.
Ken and Debbie

Barbara Rudolph Fine Art said...

Ken, I am honored to be showing next to you. You are the "True Talent" at the "Celebration of Fine Art". I am looking forward to seeing your new work.

Angela said...

Oh So amazing! Thanks so much for showing about the background. As always this is the most wonderful painting, and yes the little bird was the finishing touch.