It doesn’t matter what medium you paint in, backgrounds are always the trickiest thing for the beginning artist. I more or less have a grip on painting acrylic backgrounds, but watercolor is a challenge for me. Have I told you how much I love youtube? I love it because you can learn so much from established artists. I found two videos that demonstrated two different ways of putting in a background.
Here is the reference photo from the watercolor class I attended earlier this year.
We were meant to choose a photo and paint the image as homework. I never got around to doing it until now. I chose it because of the colors and I thought these flowers would be easy to paint! Right! Here is the first one I painted.
I modified my sketch to show complete flowers. In this painting, the whole paper was wet. Then I painted in the colors of the flowers and leaves and let them run, and added other colors. I tried to keep the color scheme similar to the photograph. Then I added salt. I love salt. It makes very cool patterns and you have no control over it, which is totally against any control issues I may have. After everything dried, much lighter of course, I was able to paint the flowers and leaves. This was challenging for me as I had a hard time getting the tones in the petals right, but I persevered. I think it is OK.
For the next painting, I decided to just paint one large flower. I liked the shape of this one. The paper was made wet all around the flower only. I used some bolder colors and added salt, particularly around the leaves to suggest that lacy shape that Anemone flowers have. I painted the flower while the background was still wet, hence the white lines. When everything was dry, I finished off the petals and only touched up the background a little bit. I am much happier with this than the first one. I suppose it is because I had a bit more practice. I am going to try the technique I used for the poppies, but with actual watercolors this time to see how it pans out.