Saturday, 5 March 2016

Tulips and my new website

Today I started a new painting. The sketch was ready about a month ago (February 14th to be exact as it was Valentine's Day which had an influence on composition, more on that later), but I just couldn't get down to this. Finally I did the first step. This will be the fourth (out of, hopefully, five) painting exhibited during Museums at Nights festival in May. 

I started from a sketch, which was a real ordeal. I'm totally not creative, which may sound like absurd, but it's true. I always have a problem with a composition. Sometimes I spend a whole day thinking how to place my objects on paper. This time I spent three days, yes, three days and I was very close to madness and giving up. 

At the beginning I started with two tulips, but I didn't like an even number of them. Three looked much nicer to me. When I finally decided where to put the heads of the flowers, I moved on to the leaves and stems. There it begun... I had a bunch of tulips and I was moving them around here and there, but I just could't come up with a good placing of the leaves. Finally, the leaves of two tulips formed a heart shape (it was Valentine's Day and Saint Valentine had to have a hand in it). I just stopped looking for something else and decided to leave it as it was. At least there is a story behind the composition. I enhanced the photo so that you can see the whole composition. 

At the beginning I applied shadows. I started from shadows because the tulips are red and white. Painting the shadows on white parts first allows me to add the reds easily later (even over the shadows, because the reds are much stronger and darker). For the shadows I used two mixes. I usually use these two mixes depending on a color of a flower. When a flower is white or yellow or has warmer shadow I usually use a mix of Ultramarine Violet and a warm yellow. This mix gives a color which I can't name, but it works for me. It's like a neutral brown, but a delicate light brown, maybe a bit muddy, but works really well. My second shadow color is usually grey which I get from Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna, so standard grey. Depending on how cool shadow I need I'm just adding more Ultramarine Blue. In these tulips I used both mixes.

When the shadows were done I started with my reds. I did a quick color check before, although I was pretty sure I was going to use Winsor Red and Winsor Red Deep for that. Winsor Red is a strong beautiful red and Winsor Red Deep darkens it really nicely. I had used Winsor Red previously in several paintings and I noticed that the best chroma of Winsor Red I can get by layering several layers (approximately 3-4). With every layer Winsor Red is getting stronger (and more opaque at the same time) but the red is really red when it's done with layers.

Here you can see my tiny little desk. As you can see I have my painting at an angle. I took Sheavun's advice to heart and decided to try to place my board at an angle. I hadn't done it earlier because of my lack of creativity and because I thought that my arm would hurt from keeping in an uncomfortable position. I was so wrong! Why I hadn't tried it earlier... When I paint I always stick my nose close to the paper and when I paint something vertical I also slouch a lot. But that's no longer true. Painting at an angle really helps to keep my back in good condition and it's so comfortable. I wouldn't have thought. Better late than never. 

To place my board at an angle I took round self adhesive felt washers, cut them in half and just stuck them to my desk. This way my board is protected from sliding down.

Under my board I placed a shoe box (I keep my paints in it). And there you go, very simple way when not having an easel. I also tried with rolled towel instead of this box. It's also a good idea, but here I just wanted to have a larger angle. 

Oh, I almost forgot about something. Three days ago or so I published my new website. It's not really new, it's my old website, but it underwent some major changes. First of all I've changed the address. It used to be: krzysztofkowalski. weebly. com which was horrible to remember for people from abroad. Second of all it was in Polish and now it's mostly in English. I've changed the whole design too, it used to be dark, now it's white. There are less bookmarks and so on. I want to have one main website and I finally did the first step to do this. I've been working on this website for about a month now, it's still under construction, especially translation from Polish to English takes me a lot of time. I used simple address, I hope, so that it was easier to people from abroad to remember it. I just call it the same as my YouTube account, Instagram and other places online where I am. It's Take a look if you like and I would be also very happy if you let me know what mistakes should I correct in English texts and in general whether there is something I should change. Every opinion would be very helpful. 


  1. Congratulations with your new website Krzysztof, I like it. I am glad Shevaun suggested you have your work at an angle. I do too. Working position means everything when working for many hours painting detail. It will be nice to see the development of your Tulips.

    1. Thank you Gaynor! Painting with my work at an angle really helps me a lot. I wish I had tried that earlier. I was painting almost a whole day yesterday and nothing, no pain. I used to feel pain in my back after one hour or so in bad position. Thank you for stopping by :)