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Friday, July 11, 2014

Painting the Essence of a Dragonfly

The other day I was on my patio admiring the few container plants that have survived the first half of summer when a beautiful blue dragonfly perched on the succulents and sat still long enough for me to get a snapshot of him.   I also took a photo of my fiery red salvia blooms.  Yet another example of painting subjects readily available in my own backyard!
Here is the step by step process I used to combine my subjects in an acrylic painting.

My easel with the printed photos for reference.  I use blue house painter's tape to keep my canvas from sticking to the easel.  Also helps with clean up.

Convenient set up with easel, palette, water and a chair if I need to sit rather than stand while painting.

I use my handy foam brush for a quick gestural block in of the star of the painting.  The canvas is already toned with yellow ochre.
I continue to use the foam brush for broad slapping on of paint for the succulents.

The palette colors mimic what I have on the canvas.  I don't thin my paints with anything.  This allows me to make juicy strokes on the canvas.  I keep the foam barely damp with water.

Here I use a large nylon brush to place smaller details on the dragonfly.

I go back to the foam brush and add the dark foreground for the blooming salvia.  Up until this point I have been painting wet in wet paint.  The greens will dull the red blooms so I wait until the paint dries before continuing with the blooms. 
I add the red blooms.

I add lighter leaves on the salvia and multiple stokes of various cheerful colors around the canvas.
I use dull yellow on the background and allow some of the darker toned canvas to peek through.  I also put a few strokes of red on the dragonfly for more unity with the red blooms.

I sign and Summer Visitor (acrylic on canvas, 11 inches by 14 inches) is finished!
Now listed on Etsy at Mona Vivar Fine Art
All images copyright Mona Vivar 2014.

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