Monday 25 March 2013

TUTORIAL TRYOUTS - with Carla Sondheim's Tutorial

For this week's Tutorial Tryout with Kristin Dudish she has chosen a tutorial with Carla Sondheim  - painting abstracted flowers.

I've had a few problems with photographing this week with the dark grey skies we've had all the time.  In this pic of my first effort the pencil shading around the abstracted flowers has come out much darker than on the actual painting, which does look much brighter than this. 

It doesn't look much like Carla's example, but it gave me an understanding of the basic principles behind the technique which I could build on in further attempts.

I forgot to take a photo of the first stages of the work on that one, so the next picture shows the result after the initial stages of my second attempt, where gesso has been added over and around the watercolour 'splodges' for the flowers.

 I always like to learn from a tutor and then take things in a slightly different direction to make it my own, rather than try to make an exact copy.  So instead of pencil, I used gel pens from a kiddies gel pen set to highlight the flowers, and shaded the background with a coloured pencil in green.

I liked the effect, which followed the spirit of Carla's example.  One of the things I learned from using the coloured pencil was that where the gesso surrounding the flowers had texture, the coloured pencil produced a nice textured effect.

Apart from anything else I found this a very useful technique to take from the tutorial for use on other projects.

For my third exercise, above, I decided to use Inktense pencils, used like watercolours, for the 'flowers'.  In this photo you can just see the gesso surrounding the flowers.  White gesso but it looks cream here.

 Taking it a stage further again, I painted the flowers with Caran D'Ache Prismalo Aquarelle pencils (mainly because the colours I wanted were not in my Inktense set).  For the background and green 'twiddles' I used coloured pencils.

Again I was pleased with the textured effect of the pencils on the gesso background.

This one is my favourite.  

What did I gain from Carla's tutorial.  Firstly I enjoyed it, it was fun, and I learnt something new.
                                                            I liked the loose random approach to the work.
                                                            The tutorial made me move out of my comfort zone
                                                                    again to try a different approach
                                                             Using the gesso in that way was something I would
                                                                    never have thought of, but it works
                                                             I feel that I can apply what I have learnt to other
                                                                    areas of my work.

All in all, this was a successful tutorial for me.  So thank you Carla for what I have learnt and for the fun, and thank you Kristin for giving me the push to try the tutorial.


  1. Lovely Jez, I like the simplicity of the third piece. It looks like it would make a super fabric print design.

  2. Lovely burst of colour. Makes a change from looking out of the window and seeing white!

  3. I tried this one too over the weekend and found it really fun, but haven't been able to "make it my own" yet. you've done a nice job interpreting and expanding the tutorial.

  4. I love the way you start with the basic tutorial then expand on it to put your own "Jez twist" on it - That's what it's all about!

    I also think it's so great how you sum up what you've learned - it's helpful for us all :)


  5. I need to check out these tutorials you have been doing. Thank you for your step by step Jez - I always appreciate it :)

  6. I love the direction you took this in and the vibrancy of your colours. LOVE!

  7. Great crazy flowers Jez, I am still working on mine :)


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