Second painting. WIP

I’ve been at this all day and really need an “atta girl”.. I’m pleased with the progress but I don’t know if I should add some background at this point ot keep going. i wasn’t sure how I’d accomplish the “hair” but I think I have it figured out..suggestions are alwayswelcome! Oh, and I stained the canvas a neutral grey before I received MC’s more brownish stain but it seems to be working...


  • Very cool image to work with.  Looking good so far.
  • Thank you @GTO.  I used to keep bees and I just love them.. I’m hoping to really capture how adorable this sweet little bumble (not a honey bee) in her dandelion bud is...
    What do you suggest re: painting in the background? Because the background is very light, should I continue with the subject and paint in the background at the end?

  • edited February 2021
    This is looking great already! Great subject, great composition so far. I never kept bees but I do love 'em! bumblebees and honey bees are my favs. Handling a bumblebee is a wonderful experience and bees are certainly one of my most favorite subjects to photograph and to film. I have reference photos in my library to paint when I'm ready. 
     For your background I suggest using a complementary color, ie; violet, purple? I think the background above as a guide is very good here. I've observed mainly indistinguishable, mainly blurred backgrounds for this subject matter, similar for hummingbirds as well, because of the depth of field. But this also highlights the subject so quite well. Btw, if you were to change the background to a darker color, the bee as is would appear unrealistically vivid, this may work if you were painting in a "bold painting technique".
  • @SecondSarah i used to keep bees too (years ago). I was only pointing out the general process.  I’ve repainted ares of background before.  It’s harder to do but I think primarily it’s because it is easier to get the value and color of the object more accurately once you have the background in.  
  • @Forgiveness @GTO I’m so happy to hear that we have so many Friends of the Bees here! First, thanks to you both!
    @Forgiveness It may be difficult to see in the photo but the background is all shades and tints of plum and violet.. Are you thinking I should bring deeper values of those hues in closer to the subject? Or just deepen them where they sit?
    @GTO Got it. I know Mark teaches to put some in but his backgrounds are primarily very dark so I wasn’t sure...
  • edited February 2021
    Plum and violet are good and these are "muted versions" of those colors, but I was envisioning a clearer, richer hue of violet and plum? These would be the same as they are already, in values, no deepening of colors are needed here, these work great already. In the end you would have a brighter painting over all. If needed I can provide a simple demo of what i mean, just let me know.
  • @Forgiveness That would be beautiful, but I think for this painting, since it’s only my second and I’m reeeeally trying to DMP it, I’m going to stick with the original colors. I do appreciate your willingness to help me improve it. Thank you so much 
  • Keep going, trust your values and don't forget to breath. It is not a race, these are slow dry paints after all. I don't know how detailed you want to make the final image, but, I would suggest watching Mark Carders video on painting wet on dry, if you want to come back to the image later and refine some off the fiddly bits.
  • Beautiful, and coming along nicely @SecondSarah

  • Thank you @geoffrey_38. Are you referring to the video on oiling out the canvas? I don’t know that I’ve seen one specific to wet on dry... Do you know the title of the video? I value your suggestion. Thank you!
  • That's a wonderful photo. and your painting is looking fabulous.  :)
  • That’s high praise, coming from you, @tassieguy!  Thank you! I really love your work and hope to someday be even just a tenth of the talent that you are!
  • Thanks, @SecondSarah. I can see you're plenty talented. This is going to be a wonderful painting.

    Mark tells us to learn all we can from his method and then use it as a stepping off point to explore our own artistic ideas. Your gonna do great.  :)
  • Thank you @geoffrey_38. Are you referring to the video on oiling out the canvas? I don’t know that I’ve seen one specific to wet on dry... Do you know the title of the video? I value your suggestion. Thank you!

  • @geoffrey_38 Oh Yay!!! Thank you! I missed that on the DMP website. Because my painting is only 8X10 this will be a great help..
  • It's looking great! Well done, and keep going :)
  • @SecondSarah
    This may seem an odd thing to say. The original image has a playfulness in the negative spaces. Whimsy. By cropping it some of that is missing. Sometimes what is around the subject is equal to or more important. That said you are doing a fabulous job of painting this. 
    Where does the original come from?
  • @KingstonFineArt Not odd at all..I understand your point. I’m just about at the point of laying in the background which I hope may restore some of the playfulness. As to your comment about cropping, once again, as this is only painting number two, and I had an 8 x 10 canvas stained and ready to go, I decided to challenge my drawing skills by doing an exact line-for-line detailed drawing the exact size of my photo print, Therefore, I’ve lost about one inch overall in the vertical dimension and essentially nothing in the horizontal.. I’ve been drawing for a while and this was an excercise in precision.
    The original photograph is by a Russian photographer named Vadim Hodakovskiy and was published in 2015. It was love at first site when I stumbled upon it on the website of the apiary supply that I frequent. 
    Although I have no intention of selling this painting, I will continue to attempt to reach the photographer for permission to use his image. Thank you for your insight 
  • I'm still really impressed this is only your second painting!
  • Lol! Thank you, @Richard_P.  It truly is. I have a long history (40 years) in color matching for the custom picture framing industry. The only other artistic painting I’ve done is French matting with inks and gauche. I have always enjoyed drawing, but my painting experience is limited to interior walls! The knowledge I had accumulated while framing, combined with my now cataract-free eyes, and MC’s fine, exhaustive teaching has brought me here.. I may even begin to call myself a painter .. and I couldn’t be happier about it 😊
  • Its looking even more splendid as you progress with it.

  • @Forgiveness.. I know I need to address the background, but I can’t get your comments out of my head.  I shouldn’t have rejected your very generous offer ( I hope I thanked you properly for that) of a brief tutorial to illustrate your idea and since then I’ve been questioning my whole plan. I understand that, for our first several paintings, Mark wants us to paint it exactly what we see so that was what I had intended for this...but your idea is very intriguing. If it’s not asking too much, would you still be willing to share your thoughts further, before I make a mistake?
    Also, I’m going to take the advice of @geoffrey_38 and let it dry some before softening the heavy wing...after the background is settled.  

  • edited February 2021
    @SecondSarah I'm glad you asked! To try to simplify myself, in the original photo above, the background appears to be similar to blue-violet maybe with added black, rather than violet, or red-violet. I believe that if your background was violet leaning toward red-violet without it being completely red-violet, you would arrive at a better end result. I think the color value as above is good, but the hue can be changed to better highlight the bee in the dandelion. It's just a very simple color shift in your background from the original photo above. I suggest color samples be made up on scrap pieces on the side and hold these up against your painting for better viewing before committing to canvas.
  • @Forgiveness Got it! thank you!
    @Richard_P I believe that is very close to what Forgiveness was describing. Thank you!
  • Thanks, great work @Richard_P! I really like the hue but I believe this is a shade or 2 too deep, I believe that if the the hue in this background was definitely 1 or maybe 2 steps lighter, this may work better? Looking at this hue is great as is, if more red was added it would be too much red, and if blue was added it would be too much blue. I can see lively interaction in the yellows and in the greens already, but with new adjustments the bee will become more apparent because of more contrast & the finer details will show better, and it's possible that the highlights may need further adjustments, this is normal.
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