Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Scan or photo? Scan!

Lately I decided to take my botanical paintings to a printing office where they can also scan different things. I wanted them to scan my paintings just to see how it looks like, when it's scanned. What is the difference between scan and photo. 
The difference is huge. First of all the background is really, really white, which is good for the painted subject, because it just pops out of the paper. You can focus on the subject, not on shades in the background. And it is the biggest advantage of scan. Everything is clear and looks really nice.
Another advantage is that the size of the scanned picture is really big and it's helpful if I would like to reproduce the painting (and I'm going to try). They need a good quality file, and scanning provides much better quality that taking a photo.
There is also a disadvantage, but I'm not sure why this problem occured. When I look at a normal size of the scanned picture, when I just open it I see everything quite good. But when I zoom it in I see pixels and strange looking spots. I'll show you what I mean below. I'm not sure if this is a scanner's fault or what. But I thought that when the picture is scanned, so when I zoom it in I can see every little detail very sharp. But I am dissapointed. The details are better when I take a photo with my camera. I think it's because of the scanner and I have to try to scan it one more time in another printing office.

So here are the scanned pictures:

Now here is the subject of my concern:
It's not a huge close up, but still it doesn't look good. It should be clear and sharp, but it looks horrible. I'm pretty sure that it's a scanner's fault.

Despite this defect, I think that scanning is much better than taking the photo. Of course the better scanner and skills of someone who scans it, the better results. I have to look for someone else to scan it one more time.

Here is the detail of the scan:

And here is the photo:

For me the subject itself looks much better on the photo, it's sharp (or crisp I should say?). But on the scan the backgroud is completely white which is really important. I have to work on better scanning and it will be perfect.

Lastly, I would like to show you how big is the difference between the backgrouds. The whiter one is of course scanned (and again I don't know why blogger makes the colors more saturated than they are).

Monday, 6 October 2014

Garlic - finished

I've had so busy time lately, but yesterday I decided to take my time and finished the garlic before a new week begins. I painted two elements from my 5 element composition. The one on the right side was the most greyish. I decided to mix all three primary colors to get a rich grey (thanks to advice of Eunike Nugroho) and it was perfect. 

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Garlic - part 3

The third element of the composition is finished. It was quite a challenge, because this flower (again) has lots of colors, far more that I was expecting. They all look like they were shining from the inside, like there was a little lamp inside of it. This flower is in a full bloom, I have two more on the right side which are in the middle stages of blooming.

I also have a good news for some of you. From time to time (more and more often) people ask me if I sell prints of my watercolors (botanical and my "normal" flower paintings). Well, I've never sold any prints, but because this question is still coming back to me, I decided to establish cooperation with a printing office. At first I want to print some examples, to see how it looks, and if it's ok (hopefully) my prints will be available to purchase. I'll let you know!

Here is the next stage of the garlic flowers.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Garlic - part 2

I'm working on the second bud of a garlic flower. This one starts to bloom. The colors are more violet. The petals (are those petals?) are violet and green and that green is nice contrast to violets around.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014


So I'm back! Yay! It was a long journey, but finally I'm back and I feel I have new power to paint and create something new. But my hands also feel that they haven't been painting lately, so I have to start with something easy, just to exercise. 
I decided to check out my old photos I did last year or earlier. At that time I was taking a lot of photos of things that I wanted to paint in future. I was thinking about botanical painting then, but I didn't even dare to try it. So now I looked at my photos and I choose a garlic flowers. Well, I know there are a lot of different kinds of garlic flowers and I have no idea how it's called in english, but at least I know it's a garlic, because when I picked it up (it was growing near a road) I could smell a garlic from one meter.
I took tens of photos of it, at different stages of blooming (I hope it's correct). I choose 5 different photos, where the flower is completely closed, and then it's opening more and more and finally it's fully open. As usual I had a problem with composition, but as it's just an exercise I thought it's not really so important. At first I wanted to place the elements from left to right to show how the flower is opening, but finally I placed the last stage in the center, and all the other stages are on the left and right sides.
Because autumn (or fall) is really close here in Poland, the days are shorter and it's starting to be dark quite fast. I like autumn, but I don;t like when it's starting to be dark so quickly, because I like to paint with a daylight. And in this case I have only couple of hours (if I have a free day!) to paint. I have a daylight lamp, I sometimes use it, but sunlight is sunglight :D
Ok so here is what I've done today:

Not much, I know. But I noticed that the more I paint in botanical style, the slower I'm in painting. I don't know why. I think I put more attention to details, I want the painting to look real and I'm constantly correcting it. For example this bud on the left side. I thought it would be easy, it's just a bud, simple, tear-shaped, nothing complicated. But, let me tell you, I was painting it for about six hours! Maybe it's also because of the break I had, maybe. But when I was looking at this bud closer and closer I started to see more and more details. More and more colors, and shapes, lights and shadows. Gosh! It should be an easy bud! Hell no! I found more colors there than I was expecting. Can you imagine there are violets, reds, oranges, browns, blues, greens... everything. Respect...garlic...
So I started this painting very slowly and I fell there are more surprises waiting for me...

Thursday, 31 July 2014


Dear followers! From tomorrow August 1st till September 10th I'll be less available, so I can answer your question with delay. I'm going on vacation! I'll be in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia for 5 weeks! Yay! Hope everything will be all right. Keep fingers crossed!

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Mom's favourite lilies

I had only 3 white pages left in my sketchbook (now I have only one), so I decided to sketch something more. I chose my Mom's favourite lilies from her garden. They are pink and they smell really beautiful.

Unfortunately, during the painting I made a big splash of paint (well, it happens). I pretend that it was intended (of course it was!) and I added more of them.

Echium vulgare

Nature is surprising me all the time. Today I wanted to sketch something, but I don't have any living plant now (I have a pine cone, but maybe later...). So I was browsing my photos and I hit on the Echium vulgare

The name of this plant is very interesting. Unfortunatelly I have no idea how it's called in english. Echium vulgare is in latin, and in polish it's called ┼╝mijowiec zwyczajny. The first word - ┼╝mijowiec - comes from the name of the snake, in english it's an adder. And zwyczajny means ordinary, common. 

When I was drawing it with an ink I was wondering how it is called like that. And suddenly I realised, that there is one stamen that comes from the flower and looks like a tongue of the adder! I also read, that in the past this plant was used against adder's bites. Interesting!

Now I know a little bit more about the Echium vulgare. I wanted to paint it and keep it simple. I decided, again, to use an ink to draw an outline. I made the outer lines a little bit thicker. It reminds me paintings of one of my favourite artist - Alfons Mucha (I love art nouveau).

Here you can see the stamen that comes from the flower and looks like an adder's tongue.

I have to admit that I love this kind of sketching! Ink, a nib pen and watercolors! I love it! I feel very comfortable when I sketch this way, I really like it.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

My old sketchbook and curcuma

I've been preparing for my life journey to Asia  lately, so I don't have much time for painting, but yesterday I was given a flower called Curcuma. I knew about spice called turmeric (which in polish is "kurkuma"), but I had no idea that the spice comes from this flower. 

It looks really exotic. It has pink petals with green endings and a really long leaf. Of course I took tens of photos, because I hope to paint it (more accurately than I did today) when I come back.

Today I took my old sketchbook from the drawer and I fortunately got some white pages which I could use for some sketches. I tested some color mixes first, because in this sketchbook I hadn't used my new paints before. Then I took my nib pen and black ink and I was freely trying to draw this flower. Just a quick sketch.

After I done it I took my paints and add some colors. I also tried to write "Kurkuma" and color names with a nib pen. But it was quite difficult, because I made my sketchbook with cold pressed paper (I think it was Canson Vidalon or Montval, I'm not sure), and the surface has hard texture to write on it.

But eventually I wrote it somehow, althought I have no idea about calligraphy, I just tried to make it looks nice. 

It was a big fun to paint it. Drawing and painting in sketchbook is really different than normal painting. You don;t have to be really accurate, you can do whatever you want, you can feel free and make a lot of mistakes. It's your own sketchbook, and you can do everything. I'm going to buy Stillman and Birn Zeta Series sketchbook as soon as I come back from Asia. I can't wait to see that sketchbook, because a lot of people recommend it and I also have to admit, that it looks exactly how I want my sketchbook to look like. Nice cover, thick and smooth pages, good for watercolor. It seems to be perfect.

My old sketchbook I made by myself thanks to Sea Lemon's videos on YouTube. She showed step by step how to make a sketchbook and how to make nice and easy bookbinding and I tried to do it myself, because I couldn't find any sketchbook with thicker pages for watercolor here in shops.

Here are some sketches I did earlier in this sketchbook: