As promised, here’s another in my series of 22×30″ peony paintings; I started this about a week ago. Peonies are among my favorite flowers to paint. Their spectacular colors, curved petals and showy anthers in the garden also truly enhance any painting that features them. As usual, I begin with bright washes of color on partially wet paper, and allow paint to bleed and across sketched edges. Above, visible hard edges are the first hint of adjacent paler petals.
Form is developed layer by layer. Color brightness is maintained by using clean, vivid pigment and by allowing the paper to dry in between each layer.
Since pink/red is opposite green on the color wheel, I waited until most of the flower forms were complete before painting the first layer of the background. Undecided about what to do with the background at top and bottom left, I’ve left it mostly blank there for now.
As you can see, a stark value contrast between petal subjects and dark, leafy background makes the flowers begin to pop. If mid-value shapes are not juxtaposed with the extremes of dark and light values, even colorful shapes may not appear to burst off the paper.
The above is much bluer than actual, but in any case, the top background area, while dark, now distracts too much from the subject flowers because its leaf pattern, though mostly undefined, contrasts too much in value and is therefore too busy.
Hiding much of that busy background pattern at top with washes of very dark green does the trick.