Work in Progress: Flora Series

Hello! I’m going to give you a brief sneak peek at a new watercolor series I am currently working on. I have been working on this for a very long time, but just have not been able to set aside the time to finish it. Originally, I wanted to make a series of watercolor paintings of 8 popular flowers, each with a caption including the Latin binomial name and the flower’s associations and meanings. I chose my 8 flowers, gathered some research, and began sketching.

My process includes a light pencil sketch of the flower. I look for balance in my compositions, so I look for a good mix of smaller and larger flowers. I also wanted each sketch to be self contained, so the bouquet had to have a clear cut near the bottom of the stem. I try to include a bud and a fully opened flower in each, to show the stages of the flower’s life.

Rose ink drawing

Rose ink drawing

After pencil sketching, I draw over the lines with a .01 in Micron waterproof ink pen. I try to be very careful at this stage, because one tiny twitch can make a big mistake. After inking, I erase all pencil lines. Then, I scan the inked drawing in, just in case the watercolor stage does not go as planned!

After the initial scan, I begin painting. I like to begin with the stems and leaves. Then, I begin to paint the flower petals. I specifically chose a variety of colors for this series, to have an interplay of warm and cool colors. After I am satisfied with the painting, I scan it in again. I don’t like to depend on the computer for help, but if I’ve made a gross mistake (like my paintbrush spits up a bubble of water and streaks paint far outside of the lines), I’ll go into Photoshop to correct it.

This painting is more of an "add-on" to the series, since it is not a standalone flower, but a collection of desert plants.

This painting is more of an “add-on” to the series, since it is not a standalone flower, but a collection of desert plants.

Currently, I have all of my paintings complete, and now I just need to do the calligraphy. This stage may take a fair amount of time, because I need to actually write the passages that go underneath the flowers! I’m hoping to get a good head start on this before Halloween, because I’ll be starting another graduate school class and I’ll have even less time to work on this. I’m really enjoying this series, and if all goes well, I may start another different series!

-A.K.