My most recent painting, “Camellias in bloom” was definitely an exercise in patience. It also became an opportunity for me to explore endless green color variations because I painted a lot of foliage.

I took photographs of my overgrown camellia bush for a period of two weeks. When the first flowers bloomed, their vibrancy was exquisite and the center petals were more closed up. Later on, the bush had far more flowers blooming, but many of them were in stages of decay.

The digital process of creating a photo-layout for my painting took time. I worked from many photos and chose the best-looking camellias to be my stars. I pulled them closer together than they were in my photos. I made sure to add some buds and chose interesting leaves to fill in my layout.

The left photo was my basis, but the actual flowers were from the photo on the right, which was taken a week earlier.

The camellias were my stars or “heroes” and my goal was to have the background heighten them. This led me to darken the leaves in certain places. I found the blueness to be very interesting and even added purple into the green for another effect.

There were also many details that I eliminated, including speckled moisture on the leaves. I simplified water droplets, but left so many on the flowers that they kept me busy.

I saved considerable time by printing my layout lightly onto watercolor paper. I began by painting the camellia flowers first.

Masking was an important part of my technique. I cut out every petal and the larger droplets. For the smaller ones, I used liquid masking fluid.

I usually draw upon my frisket film to indicate the areas I plan to cut.

When the flowers were completed, I masked over them with fresh frisket film because I didn’t want the red and green colors to bleed together.

I put the pink palette aside and started a new palette that was mostly green. I saved the pink one for later on – because I knew at the end I would do some touch ups.

At this point, there was still frisket film on the red camellias and large leaves.

I completed areas in blocks and constantly found myself going back to rework older sections. The relationships between areas changed as I filled in more of my painting. I was continually darkening leaves and the transparent veils of color added richness. Some of the leaves had well over a dozen washes of color on them.

Although I used a lot of masking with the hero flowers, for the background I only masked the larger leaves. The delineations in the other areas were blurry and didn’t need sharpness.

When the background was completed, I eagerly removed the frisket on the flowers so I could see them again. My next step was to pull out my Prismacolor pencils. Those pencils were great for eliminating darker lines that happen as a result of using frisket film.

I can show this with two close-ups before and after I used colored pencils.

Colored pencil helped to soften the flower’s edge.

I did end up using the pink palette to knock back some of the white areas on the petals. I wanted the flowers to be more subtle, with less contrast.

I spent oodles more hours working over my painting with colored pencil and watercolor touches. But then I noticed it wasn’t significantly improving anything. If I kept working, my painting might become overworked and less sparkly. Finally I stopped and said, “Enough is enough!”

Then I scanned my image, which became yet another opportunity to spend countless hours fixing small details. I had to rein that in also. My main objective was to remove any spots of dust.

For stock purposes, I went ahead and created two paintings of my “Camellias in bloom,” and they were just different croppings of my larger painting.

During the time I was working on this painting, there was another magical surprise in store for me amidst the flowers.

I was having a haircut on my patio and my lovely stylist noticed a tiny bird’s nest resting on a branch. If she hadn’t pointed it out to me, I would never have seen it.

The day after I took this photo, the tiny hummingbird flew away.

I took many photos of that nest and even created another painting layout. This time, the camellias took a back seat to the tiny bird. However, when it came time for me to move forward to paint it, I hesitated. I decided I just wasn’t excited about revisiting this same subject right away.

I might paint that hummingbird someday, or maybe not. With distance the answer will come to me.

I’m already working on two other new paintings that I am excited about. I plan to paint whatever subjects intrigue me. My creative instinct tells me to follow my joy.

I end my camellia post with close-ups of the final painting.

About Judy

I'm an illustrator by profession. At this juncture in my life, I am pursuing my dream of writing and composing music. Every day of my life is precious!
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16 Responses to #62 CAMELLIAS IN BLOOM

  1. Belinda O says:

    Stunning work, Judy. It’s so interesting to read about your process and appreciate the work even more through understanding the steps you took to complete each painting.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Judy says:

      Thank you so much, Belinda. I wondered if the process was too technical. I hoped to make it easy to understand. I appreciate your mentioning that you found it interesting. Sharing about my painting was a lot of fun for me. I take pictures in progress more now – but I’ve yet to make a sped up video!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This work is amazing! You are amazing! 💕

    Liked by 2 people

    • Judy says:

      Thank you so much, Stacy! I’m so lucky to consider my work “play.” It’s been fun painting art now just for that reason, unlike the high pressure deadlines I lived with over the course of my commercial art career. 🙂


  3. Mayra says:

    Omg this is beautiful!
    You’re so talented Judy! ❤️❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    • Judy says:

      Thank you so much, Mayra! You just might inspire me to finish another painting with the birdie in there. I just saw the mother bird sitting on the nest that has an egg in there now. It makes that bush so cool. My mother planted it when I was a child, so it’s almost as old as I am LOL.

      Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment on my blog! ❤️


  4. kegarland says:

    Judy, this is beautiful, as usual 😉 Do you ever “mess up,”? And, if so, what do you do? Do you begin again?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Judy says:

      Thank you so much, Katherin! That’s a thoughtful question.

      Sometimes there is a case where the paper is defective. If that happens, I’ll start again. I’ve learned not to fight it, because the paint will bleed everywhere. But I’ve figured out which brand is best, so that hasn’t happened in a while.

      In the past, I’ve had finicky clients and I usually charged them for changes from an agreed layout. Once the art is painted, prior to the digital age it was almost impossible to fix anything using watercolors. I came up with an interesting method where I would repaint the area that was changed, cut it out, and then paste it over my original painting. By sanding the back and edges it was even hard to tell it was glued on.

      The game changer has been using the computer to solve all the compositional issues before painting. That way I know what the final result will be. So now I seldom mess up and since I am the art director, I don’t get finicky at the end LOL!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. jmgoyder says:

    Hi Judy Is there any way I could order a picture from you? I would pay of course. Julie xxx

    On Sun, Mar 21, 2021 at 2:20 PM ILLUSTRATING MY LIFE wrote:

    > Judy posted: “My most recent painting, “Camellia Tree” was definitely an > exercise in patience. It also became an opportunity for me to explore > endless green color variations because I painted a lot of foliage. I took > photographs of my overgrown camellia bush for a p” >

    Liked by 1 person

    • Judy says:

      So lovely to hear from you, Julie! I’m honored and will PM you to discuss this. Much love!

      Liked by 1 person

      • jmgoyder says:

        This extraordinary work of art has moved me to tears as it is so much like one of the camellia trees on the farm that Anthony and I loved! Thank you for your pm and thank you for being a friend to me when I am so unreliable haha

        Liked by 2 people

      • Judy says:

        That’s right – I forgot you moved from the farm, Julie. So many memories there and I actually wondered if that illustration was of a camellia tree or bush. It started out as a bush, but really seems more like a tree now.
        I will happily send you a copy and it’s wonderful hearing from you. You are very reliable. Always loving and supportive, my friend.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. lorriebowden says:

    You blow me away…you blow me away!! Wow, Judy! Your patience paid off as this is exquisite! Your talent is so very bold!
    Much love and peace…and health to you on this Easter Sunday! I will write soon 😉 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

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