Yellow Roses in Purple Vase

First, believe it or not, this is a computer-generated image. I’ve been working for a while on trying to get some classic floral still life style images from the text-to-image software I’ve been playing around with, and after exhausting a certain look, I decided to try some different modifiers to the same basic text prompt.

I’ll cover this other style on Friday, but this particular image gets its own post for the simple fact I will be working on doing it by hand in the next week. Even more inspiring to me than the Sunset Palms image, this is a simple but elegant floral still life composition of a bouquet of yellow roses in a purple vase, sitting on a wood table. It is the complementary colors that make this idea pop.

Inspiring digital artwork

Picture of woman holding framed art print Yellow Roses in Purple Vase
Yellow Roses in Purple Vase, digital artwork available as an art print

But first, the important links for print products to buy. I have it on most products at my Pixels store as well as art prints. It doesn’t looks right on objects where the printing is horizontal in orientation. I recommend getting art prints from there because Pixels is owned by Fine Art America, who are big in the art print world. For those who enjoy wearing artwork, I recommend my RedBubble shop. My sister and mother both recommend them and are repeat customers.

The search for a good rose image

No surprise to long-time blog followers here, but I personally love yellow roses. I’ve been trying to paint or draw the “perfect” yellow rose piece since the day after I picked my art back up, and I have a couple watercolor paintings I did one to two years ago – Electric Yellow Rose and Yellow Rose. (If you buy the originals, you can rename them. I don’t try to be cute with what I name my artwork.) While I’ve played around with the idea in pastel and colored pencil, I have not accomplished anything I want to share. I think part of that is a matter of finding a good reference photo for it, because buying a nice bouquet of roses in a pretty vase each time I want to paint or draw would get rather expensive.

Enter the text-to-image digital artwork idea

So, what does an artist who lives on her veterans’ disability pay do in this situation? Well, I gave in to curiosity about the whole text-to-image software that so many people misname “artificial intelligence.” It is not intelligent. It just generates images based on your text prompt plus a style filter and any modifiers you use from the lists of phrases that will get you certain looks.

First, I tried the basic text prompt “bouquet of yellow roses” without any modifiers, and got a bunch of images that more-or-less fit that. The biggest variation is in that hard-to-define quality of composition. One was good, while the rest were mediocre at best. Here is the one I liked best.

bouquet of yellow roses
bouquet of yellow roses

Using modifiers in the text prompts

Not completely satisfied with this, I began to experiment with different modifiers to see what kind of image style I could get from which modifier. Some modifiers are specific art movements; some are specific artists’ names (and some of those are still alive and still painting), and others are descriptions like “dynamic lighting,” which is one of my favorites. No “chiaroscuro” or Edgar Degas, though my favorites are romanticism and Thomas Kincade, a combination that makes some very pretty images that don’t have much variation.

romantic yellow roses in vase on table
Romantic yellow roses in glass vase on table

Another style modifier I tried was Renaissance painting, which certainly has that feel to it, and I may experiment with that style further, but first I wanted to see how well (or how poorly) the software handled the idea of simulated pastels. These are soft pastels, not oil pastels, and I was disappointed to not find any famous pastellists in the artist list like Edgar Degas or Mary Cassat. Fellow Impressionist powerhouse Claude Monet was on the list, so on a whim I used his name along with pastels as the “medium” used and Impressionism as the style. I also specified the color scheme as yellow and purple. Here is the four-pack of images generated:

four computer-generated images using my text prompt
four computer-generated images using the text prompt “bouquet of yellow roses in fancy vase on table dynamic lighting yellow and purple pastels impressionism Claude Monet”

A bit of variation here, and while the first image is nice enough, it’s the second one (top right) that has captured my imagination. It is so close to being good! I think it is just missing that tiny little bit – perhaps toning down the background colors to make the focal point more attention-grabbing. I’ll also be tweaking that table, perhaps more of a tan than yellow, so it looks more like oak (like the image above).

Bouquet of Yellow Roses in a Purple Vase

So that is the development of a vague idea, “bouquet of yellow roses,” into a piece of digital artwork that you can purchase and I can use as a springboard to create my next work of art in pastel. I am thinking of giving my soft pastel set a proper workout for this, with details added in with pastel pencils. Until then, have a pleasant Thanksgiving week, and watch this space for a new Feature Friday.

Three Dragonflies acrylic sketch

We started a new art challenge yesterday. It is a short duration one, only three days, with the theme of “three.” Separate from this, but hosted by the same moderator, is an “Edit This” challenge where we are given a photo to edit, draw, or paint in whatever way we please, as long as the hosting moderator can tell you’ve started with the given photo. Inspiration struck first with the ET photo (that sounds funny to me!), then quickly blossomed into an idea where I can do both, plus get the first day of the November 30 day challenge which has the theme of “red.” First, the sacrificial photo:

photo of a purple mushroom for the Edit This art challenge
Edit This #54 photo

It’s cute, and painting mushrooms seems to be a thing right now, so first I thought butterflies around the mushroom, but then I thought dragonflies, or maybe even fireflies … or better yet, dragonflies around the mushroom by day (on white paper to start) and then fireflies around it by night, which would give me the perfect excuse to try out my black gesso on white oil and acrylic paper to see if that stuff is as strong as it looks (spoiler alert: it certainly is!). And so that brings us to day one of the 3-day “three” challenge and the first of my entries into the Edit This challenge: Three Dragonflies.

acrylic sketch Three Dragonflies
Three Dragonflies, 9 by 12 inch acrylic on paper, available, $80 USD for original

It turned out cute, a bit on the whimsical side, mostly simple in layering and color, and overall I like it. I listed the original on Daily Paintworks last night, as well as uploading the high resolution scan to my Pixels site for prints. This morning I uploaded said hi-res scan to my shop at RedBubble for the apparel and accessories, positioning the image just right for the clock. At some point, I will get myself one of those clocks … once I decide which artwork to have on it. I doubt I have enough wallspace for all the ones that look nice on that clock face, not to mention the amount of batteries I’d need to keep them all on the right time.

I started the firefly version, as alluded to above, by first testing the black gesso. It’s almost dry enough to start painting now!

Electric Yellow Rose watercolor painting

I finished up this close-up watercolor painting of a yellow rose this evening. When it was dry enough, I showed it to hubby who immediately commented, “Wow, electric!”  That’s where the electric part of this painting’s name comes from.  Hubby says the combination of yellow with purple (or violet, if you prefer) just pops in a beautiful way.

watercolor painting Electric Yellow Rose
Electric Yellow Rose, 12 by 9 inch watercolor painting on paper, original available

Original is 12 by 9 inch watercolor, sealed with Dorland’s wax, and I will take it to El Amigo Restaurant in Crescent City for display locally, ands also listed for sale at Daily Paintworks for those outside the local area..  Prints in larger and smaller sizes are available at my Pixels store, and accessories at my RedBubble store.

I should mention that I saved the contour sketch for future artwork, probably in different media just because I am very pleased with how well the simple line drawing captured the shape and layout of the petals.

Another reaction to the painting

Along with my husband’s reaction to it as soon as it was dry, Elizabeth at El Amigo was amazed when I told her I painted it with watercolor.

“Wait, THAT is watercolor?! It’s so bright!” was her remark.

I told her I found a brand of paint from South Korea (Mijello Mission Gold, for those curious) that had wonderfully vibrant colors. Apparently, the general perception is that watercolor paintings have delicate, light color. Or perhaps people think of those student sets that have low pigment and really terrible brushes. Either way, I love bold and vivid colors most of the time, and will work to achieve them in whichever media I use.

(Update: she had about the same reaction when I brought in my Flapping Flamingo watercolor painting later. Also, she was surprised at the vibrancy of color in my oil pastel Blooming Pink Rose, because of the confusion about what the word pastel actually means.)

Johnny Jump Ups

Beautiful purple Johnny-jump-ups, also called purple pansies and even blue violas, against the soft blurred green background of their foliage.  They may not be large flowers, but they are certainly pretty and I love the combination of purples with the splash of yellow on the petals. The indistinct greens in the background, with just a touch of blue to harmonize with the pale part of the petals, give just the right contrast to the complementary pair of purple and yellow.

Original is 9 by 12 inches, watercolor on hot press paper, sealed with Dorland’s wax.  I can ship to buyers out of the region, and you can purchase the original through Daily PaintWorks, which uses PayPal.  Prints and accessories available through my Pixels store and also RedBubble (which also has apparel).

Johnny-Jump-Ups, 9×12 inch watercolor on paper, original available

Art supplies used

Painted with Mijello Mission Gold watercolor paints on Stonehenge Aqua paper. I enjoyed working the different shades of purple, ranging from violet lake to a mixture of quin magenta and ultramarine blue, which is also present in the greens which include green-gold and what Mijello calls bamboo green, which is the yellow shade version of phthalo green.

Prior to painting, I worked up this composition in a graphite drawing in my sketchbook to test the layout and value contrast. Ironically, drawing actually takes longer than painting, though the sketchbook and pencils are less expensive than paints and brushes, not to mention good quality watercolor paper (which makes a HUGE difference in how the paint behaves). If I am honest about it (and I tend to be) I will confess that I enjoy drawing, even when it takes hours. I find the soft scratching noise of a pencil on paper to be soothing and almost meditative, and feel as though it helps me to focus on the important parts of a composition.