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Magnolia Blossom with Bud (after Amy Lamb)

I thought this will be better as a new post, rather than continue my previous one.

I painted from the photo "Magnolia Blossom with Bud" by Amy Lamb:

Magnolia with Bud ©2000 Amy Lamb, all rights reserved

As my painting (and my photo of it) is a derivative work, I asked for Amy's permission to post my photo on the DMP forum, and she very kindly gave it.

Here's my painting:

9" x 12"
Canvas covered board
Pebeo XL oils (Titanium White, Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Umber, Crimson, Primary Cadmium Yellow Imit.)

The photo was white balanced in Photoshop from a grey card in shot, so should be accurate. However, the image on my monitor doesn't look true to the painting, but as it's just a commercial monitor and not calibrated, that's not very meaningful.

The flower petals in the photo are creamier, and the shadows in the flower are darker. I do think that this does represent progress though - I'm a lot closer to correct values than I've been previously.

In painting it, my favourite element was the leaf at bottom left. I wasn't really thinking what I was doing at that stage, just painting away thinking "light goes there, that dark shade goes there", etc. It was only when I looked away and then back that I thought, "wow, shiny!". That was a genuine thrill for novitiate me - very happy!

Your comments and critique are welcome.


  • PaulBPaulB mod
    Nice work!  Everything is rendered well and the proportions are good.  That one petal in the upper right has a shape difference, I might add more of a belly to the upper left part of it.  That one is a bit pointy.  But if I didn't have the photo in front of me, I'd never know this.

    I can see why that one leaf is your favorite, it's a good likeness.  I would say you might need some phthalo blue in order to be able to reach that really saturated dark green in the photo.  I'm not sure if that's really necessary, but it would be easier if you used it just there.

    There is good 3D form in the flower itself, you have a bunch of values there, although using a few more might help in the lower range.  The bud is a good color, but the bottom edge of it needs to be softer, and darker.  This would improve the 'roundness' of it.  Edges are always a challenge, and you have to bear this in mind along with a dozen other things as the painting is done.  It's not easy.  

    Every color in the painting is cooler than in the photo, less so with the bud, but the flower in particular comes across as almost pure white.  As you said, it could be the photo.  But you have both in front of you - is there the same coolness to the painting in life as in the photo?  One way to show this would be to photograph both photo and painting in the same shot.

    How is your lighting?  5000K?

    Your approach to that leaf is spot-on.  Dark here, shade there, highlight here, stand back and wow!  If you can do that, combined with deadly accurate colors, then you can paint anything.
  • Great job. One of my mother's favorite subjects when we lived in Louisiana and Mississippi. She painted a lot of them. I planted a magnolia tree in my front yard (here in Texas) in her honor but she never painted it.
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