Artistic License is a Good Thing – Columbine with “Wow”

Painting in a botanical style lead me on a journey to find out what makes me happy and more about the value of values.

Boy did I learn from this project. I’ve long admired the work of Botanical Artists like Anna Mason and Billy Showell  I’ve even bought Anna Mason’s botanical brushes to use with my inks. Anna and Billy both work in watercolor and we work in ink. Can we paint this way?

The first thing I did was to hunt for a reference photo that would suit this style. Here’s the columbine I found out Pixabay. I had a white background (part of the style) and extreme detail. I could see all of the veining and anthers and filaments. Cool. This is going to be fun and challenging.

I was very careful to match the colors and get all the details. I used stippling – small dots of color and small dots with a Chameleon Blender pen to get the textures. I also painting on Ampersand Claybord because it gave a bit more feeling of painting on watercolor paper. It looked pretty cool.

But I wasn’t happy. I didn’t know why. I had to explain to my friends that this was the style. But I really like my paintings more dramatic. Okay, I could paint a botanical but what needs to be done? That’s why we have friends. One of my friends said that it just feels 2D and not 3D and… she was right.

I took the reference photo and filtered the black and white version on the computer to really enhance the darks. Then back to the palette to dramatize everything.  Anna Mason’s byline is “Watercolor with Wow.” I want to call this one Columbine with Wow.

So here’s the second version:


Here’s the scanned version. I’m happy now. I guess it’s just a matter of taste.

Here they are side by side – both are nice and it’s a personal decision but I’m glad that I made the changes that made me happier. Artistic license is a good thing.


16 responses on "Artistic License is a Good Thing - Columbine with "Wow""

  1. Beautiful Sheryl I like the 2nd Like the bolder color.

  2. The first version is so exquisite and delicate just as blooms are. The 2nd version is beautiful too!

  3. The first version is so exquisite and delicate like blooms are, for me it looks 3D also. The 2nd one is beautiful too!

  4. Such a “gorgeous” painting with amazing detail. I love them both and you are such an inspiration !!!!

  5. I like them both. The lighter version would pop on a dark(er) background. IMHO

    • Hi Katrina, it’s true. I tried putting some background color on a sheet of acetate to see what would happen but it didn’t improve the painting. The botanical style is usually with a white background so I’ll leave it for now.

  6. Beautiful, Sheryl. Thanks for sharing !

  7. Brilliant

  8. It is Colombine INKOLICIOUSLY “WOW”

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