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Sophia Caldwell

Just Here to Learn and Loving Every Minute!

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Orchids for Spring

Really enjoyed this class. Thank you for sharing your talent and inspiring us Sandra!

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Here is some detail about my journey in making this painting ...

Photo Selection:
I decided to use the reference pictures provided as part of the class. I love orchids and the photograph, and the detail shots allowed me to get a good understanding of the flower and leaf characteristics and colors.

Sketching:
I was most comfortable with this part of the project because I've sketched before. I used Sandra's process as outlined in the class, drawing the flower heads individually and tracing and arranging until I liked the composition. Initially, I wasn't happy with the size of the blooms in relation to one another. I used my photocopier to resize a couple of elements of my sketch until I felt it was balanced right. I then used my lightbox to produce a final sketch to ensure I was happy with the overall composition before tracing lightly onto my watercolor paper.

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Color Palette:
I used Dr. Ph. Martin's Hydrus Watercolor Set 1. Until very recently, I knew very little about color theory. For example when I first got my set, I was disappointed I didn't have a green (because I didn't understand that you mixed the green ... LOL!). So, I spent a lot of time getting the green that I wanted and I made a mixing chart of my set which helped A LOT when choosing colors.

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The Painting:
I started experimenting with watercolors in February this year. I'd practiced some basic exercises - washes, gradients, blending, etc, but it wasn't until I enrolled in this class that I felt a 'proper painting' was achieveable and I was ready to 'have a go'. I painted the flowers and leaves first, but didn't pay much attention to the pot in the sketching/composition stage because, honestly, I didn't think I'd get that far before consigning the painting to shredder heaven :D. So, I tackled the pot as a separate element, looking for shapes of pots and colors I liked on the Internet, re-sketching and then building up the shading gradually until I felt it looked realistic. I found the Dr. Ph. Martin's watercolors nice to work with - I like that they are translucent which made it easy for me to work slowly, building up coats of paint carefully until I got the look I wanted.

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Conclusion:
I am very insecure about my artistic ability, but I took the best decision ever in enrolling in this class and giving the project a go. I learned so much through the process - I discovered what I think might be my style (detail oriented obviously!) and some weaknesses which I'm working to improve upon. It was nerve-wracking to post my project - I was afraid of negative reaction. However, the response I've received has been amazing and made me think differently about my abilities and potential to fulfill my dream of becoming an artist. Thank you so much to Sandra and my fellow Skillsharers - every time I get a comment or like, it means so much to me and it boosts my confidence and determination to carry on.

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