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Colors For Flower Painting

( Originally Published 1920 )



Yellow Flowers.-In painting yellow flowers, examine whether the shades are warm or cool; and if the latter, paint them with Indian ink; if the former, paint them in with a little burnt umber. When dry, coat evenly over with gamboge-the general tint of the flower. Where the high light strikes, it can be washed out a little with the second brush, slightly moist. Repeat the color in the stronger parts, finishing, if requisite, with a little carmine, or burnt sienna, added to the gamboge.

Blue Flowers.-Coat them evenly with cobalt or smalts, according to the tint. Smalts blue is rather difficult to coat on evenly, and should not be used until some skill and experience are obtained. Cobalt, with a little rose madder added, may be used as a substitute. Shade the deeper parts of the flower with a little Prussian blue added to it; and if a very deep shade is required, add indigo.

Purple Flowers.-Make the desired tint with carmine and Prussian blue, increasing the shade to the depth required, using more color and less water.

Purple Flowers.-Make the desired tint with carmine and Prussian Indian red; then coat it smoothly with royal scarlet, or, in lack of this color, use carmine and gamboge mixed, the proper tint, finishing up with carmine on the shades. If the flower is coated with royal scarlet, add carmine to it in the finishing.

White Flowers.-Some are first shaded with Indian ink, while others are shaded with a neutral composed of cobalt blue, rose madder, and a little Indian yellow. When dry, some of the petals are slightly tinted with a weak shade of yellow ochre, some portions with cobalt blue, others with a greenish neutral; the anthers, if not left white, should be done with permanent white, added to Indian yellow, and carefully dotted with weak burnt sienna.

The Deep Crimson, Tuscan Rose.-Shade all the petals more or less with Indian ink, until it would pass for a finished drawing in Indian ink; then coat it twice with strong carmine, and finish the deep shades by adding a little Prussian blue to the carmine.

Pink Rose.-This flower is the most difficult of any to paint, as it requires so much delicacy of manipulation to give it its true representation. The most successful method is to paint in the shade with pure cobalt blue, and then coat all over with a pale shade of carmine, with a little vermilion added. This is repeated on some of the petals until the requisite depth is obtained : some of the outside petals may require a second working over with the cobalt, to give them a thin, transparent, neutral appearance.

Arranging and Grouping.-With those who possess naturally a good eye for color, the most pleasing arrangements of form and color will naturally suggest themselves without effort on the part of the designer. For those who are deficient in this taste, it would be well to study the groupings and colorings of the best flower painters. Sometimes a very pleasing effect is obtained by placing the light flowers in the center-such as white, light pink, pale yellows-and have the rich, dark-colored flowers outside-such as dark roses, hollyhocks, fleur-de-lis, etc., thereby making color a substitute for light and shade. The most pleasing groups are painted with a slight predominance of warm coloring. Some artists paint nearly two-thirds of the flower groupings with warm colors.

-From. "Art Recreations," by Urbino and Day.

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