©2015 Joy Makon. Not to be reproduced without permission

Amy’s Zinnias

Chasing the light during a visit to Maine

Finishing a plein air painting in the studio is often inevitable, especially when daylight is waning and you need to leave the location, knowing that you won’t be able to return. The painter tries to grab the beauty of the moment and rely on memory and a photograph to finish the scene. It’s much like watching a flower fade in front of your eyes.

I don’t think these flowers will fade much, however, until frost. They are from a massive teepee of zinnias that are planted in the garden of my Maine hosts Amy and Will. Like an ode to the last bits of summer, zinnias capture the light and make me smile with their cheerful color and stubbornness to last as long as they can.

Technical notes: As a demo for Will’s painting students, I poured the sky using M. Graham cobalt blue and a small amount of Holbein permanent alizarin crimson. I painted this on a sheet of Twinrocker paper and liked how the cobalt granulated nicely with a lot of water. Paint sits differently on this paper than the Arches I’m familiar with; it’s an interesting surface that I will use again. For drawing before painting, I’ve been using water-soluble pencils and pastels (instead of pencil) for recent plein air work. I like that the drawing washes away when a wet brush hits it.

October 2015
Watercolor with water-soluble wax pastel underdrawing
Twinrocker cold press, 200 lb, 11.5″ x 17.5″

This entry was published on October 5, 2015 at 4:40 pm. It’s filed under Fall, Home, landscape, plein air, watercolor and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

7 thoughts on “Amy’s Zinnias

  1. I love how your flowers really stand up in the sky, they have great shape – so many nice and fine details.

  2. PS Like your technique with the watercolor pencils drawing first … great tip

  3. Sharman and Alan on said:

    So lovely, rich with color and soft in the bright sunlight. We can hear the buzzing of insects.

  4. This is lovely! Seeing how you did it gives me hope that I may be able to pull this iff one day, too. You did need to concentrate a lot I suppose, what with all these individual stems and blossoms, right? This sort of scene to me often seems so confusing and I don’t know where to start!

    • Joy Makon on said:

      Antje, appreciate your kind words and glad to hear you enjoy this painting. I spend some time looking, then drawing before I start painting. It’s hard because the light keeps changing, and that’s when taking a photograph helps to refer to later on.

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