Base Layer: Watercolour Flower Take II


If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, and try again…

Much happier with the feel of this one so far – I took my time and have kept my touch lighter but more controlled, and already the flower looks altogether more delicate and three-dimensional than in my previous attempt.

Letting it dry thoroughly now before adding any detail, but I think I’ll probably keep it reasonably minimalist all the way through… πŸ™‚

Flower Power

As I’ve already drawn (and coloured in) a couple of single flower heads recently, I thought I might try the same approach for my first water colour painting in three and a half decades.

So I chose a relatively uncomplicated image of a dog-rose from my photographic archive, sketched a simple basic outline in pencil, and tentatively began to paint… and I did it! I’ve painted a flower!


Predictably, it was both a better and worse experience than I expected. I decided to paint wet on dry, because although wet paint on wet paper gives a beautifully transparent and minimalist ethereal feel, it’s also far less controllable and I figured I’d need all the control I can get until I’m more confident with what I’m doing.

But I’d forgotten just how quickly watercolour paint evaporates on a dry page – if you don’t have the paper wet enough to start with, it’s really hard to blend your colours together afterwards when you want them to, and you can end up with too many hard rather than soft edges.


Oh well, never mind – I’ll remember for next time! Anyway, once I’d started I just kept going as best I could, and although my brush handled really nicely and smoothly I felt more of a bulky bull in a china shop crashing around bewildered rather than the lithe ballerina dancing delicately across the paper of my artistic dreams.

After a while I found myself getting a bit frustrated with my unintentional heavy-handedness and ended up overworking it all a bit too much, which is disappointing – I think I prefer how it looked at the half-way mark. Still, overall I’ve enjoyed the experience, and I know my finished flower isn’t great texturally but at least it does actually look like a flower. Onwards and upwards! πŸ™‚


Playing about with f-stops

I stuck my camera on my mini tripod this enjoyably lazy Sunday morning and played about with shooting close-up with different f-stops – these images were taken at f2, f4, f8 and f16 respectively…


Personally I find the f16 a bit too flat, and the f2 a bit too fuzzy – but for focusing specifically on these close-up flower heads with this particular lens, I find between f4 and f8 gives the best result for me.

But when I try to capture more of the bunch in focus, I find between f8 and f16 looks best…


I like to play about like this, experimenting with taking multiple images that really don’t matter – the idea being that when I find myself in a situation where I need to know what works best for a particular subject, I don’t have to mess about wasting time fiddling about too much with settings and risking mistakes when it matters most πŸ™‚

Share Your World: 7 August 2017

What was the last URL you bookmarked?

The website for a restaurant I’d never been to before, but where we were due to meet up with friends

Do you believe in the afterlife? Reincarnation?

I’m not religious at all, so have no particular affiliation to one set of beliefs over another, but I don’t really like the idea of us just ending abruptly. I love wandering around old cemeteries, I find them really peaceful places, and sometimes I can almost feel energies from the past walking with me and keeping me company. So… hmmm… not sure what the exact answer is to that question…

If you were or are a writer do you prefer writing poems, short stories or novels?Β 

Just a blogger not a writer, but it’s poems all the way for me – the framework really challenges me to find exactly the right words to convey what I want to say in as few key words as possible!

What inspired you this week?

A bunch of carnations I bought cheap at our local supermarket – they’ve been pretty much photographed to death, poor things, as anyone who regularly follows this blog will happily testify to… and I’m still not done with them yet πŸ™‚


Cee’s Share Your World: 7 August 2017

Colour Explosion


These three extreme zoomburst images of a vase of carnations are the most abstract of all those I took yesterday – they no longer resemble a bunch of flowers at all, but I really love the hypnotic colour-explosion effect! ❀

Carnations and a Kit Lens

I have actually played about in the past with taking motion-blur images of a spinning carousel to great effect, but currently there is nothing similar close enough to home for me to reproduce that little experiment for today’s Daily Prompt word of ‘Carousel‘. But still, it’s got me thinking… circular, spinning, motion blur… hmmm…

Another way of achieving motion blur in images is by moving the camera (or the lens) while shooting a static subject – in particular using a zoom burst technique, which can also be great fun to do as you never know what you’re going to end up with. And in the same way as the centrifugal force of the spinning carousel forces you outwards towards the edge, so the radiating focal lines of zoombursts (for me, anyway) replicate that wonderful giddy feeling of outward movement.

So welcome to the creative output of a standard bunch of carnations and a standard kit lens. I placed my vase of flowers on a small circular side table in the middle of my neutral kitchen floor, and played about with shooting relatively long exposures while actively zooming the lens during the shot. I experimented with the aperture fully closed at f22, and also at f8 with an ND8 filter to get the desired exposure time. To my surprise, in the end I preferred the slightly brighter f22 shots!

I took a couple of still shots to show either end of the range then tried zooming in from wide-angle and out from telephoto while the shutter was open, as smoothly as possible to try to catch the full range of one to the other, and here are some of my favourite results…

Looking straight down on the vase at wide-angle…


And again looking straight down at the telephoto end…


Zooming in from wide to tele with the shutter open…


And zooming out from tele to wide with the shutter open…



I absolutely love the totally abstract colours and designs of zooming out – and the faster you zoom, the more extreme the effect on the resulting image. Any slight camera shake or similar minimal movement doesn’t really matter as nothing needs to be recognisably in focus, and each image feels really dynamic and free… what fun! πŸ™‚

Today’s Flower Drawing


I decided to try to draw a different flower image today, again using coloured pencils, but I took a slightly different tack from yesterday’s attempt. I still started out with a simple line drawing outline, but then I shaded in the whole flower, to give a kind of colour base to build up layer by layer as a complete picture instead of trying to colour it in section by section as I did yesterday…


I found the whole exercise a bit easier today, I’m still feeling decidedly rusty when it comes to drawing but it all flowed a bit better doing it this way and I think the overall result is a bit more balanced, so that’s an improvement πŸ™‚

PS I seem to have something on my lens, as there’s a little smudge on the bottom left-hand corner of each image, but I’ve only just noticedΒ  it…

PPS I hope it is the lens, and not the sensor?