Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Finishing the Yellow Waterlily

Yellow Waterlily...13.5 inches by 10.5 inches...watercolor

This is the way the painting looked in September.  I had matted, framed it and exhibited it a year earlier.  I was disappointed in the painting.  I had finished it at the last minute and it just didn't shine the way I wanted it to. 

This is the photo Tom took at Biltmore Estates in October of 2009 which was my reference photo.

The day was dreary and rainy and the flower was a bright spot.  I tried to make it brighter by strengthening the yellows but it still didn't pop out from the background.  This time I put several washes of Antwerp blue over the background and washed a little yellow into the area behind the lily.  I laid washes of Antwerp blue, Winsor green, New Gamboge, and Magenta mingled in various ways over the nearest lily pad.

I like the painting better now that the lily has become more prominent.  Still the painting is very different in coloring from the photo I used for my inspiration.  Playing with colors is part of the fun of painting.

The white mat was a distraction on the original painting.  Now a white mat looks better.  I also experimented with two other matting possibilities.  All three possibilities are below.

The colors in the final example are the closest to the mats and also the painting.


  1. Just my 2 cents..the photo is strong because the focus is on the flower..in the painting your eye pops back and forth between the flower that is open and the bud. I like that middle mat:)

  2. Thanks for the comments, Far Side. I will think about that second flower again. This painting has been a learning experience for me, more than most.