Evolution 2.0- The creative Process Completed

It’s Wednesday, and I’m missing my art buddies from class!  I’ve been painting up a storm and enjoying my time away, and thought I’d bring you up to speed on one of the projects I’ve been working on.  Not too long ago I wrote a blog on why I believe evolution is more than a theory when it comes to painting.  I believe that if we use our heads and bring some Intelligent Design to the evolution of our paintings, they can deliberately evolve into something bee-utiful! (Sorry- I just had to take advantage of that one! 😉 ) Here’s the rest of the story from my preceding blog on this painting.  Did you miss the original article?  No problem…here’s a link to that blog  https://rebeccazartist.com/2016/02/evolution-not-just-theory-comes-painting/

The painting above is one of my latest paintings: The Beekeeper’s Cottage. 22×30 Transparent watercolor on Aquabord (by Ampersand).   As you can see, it’s completed it’s evolution from a couple of months ago.  When I last showed it to you, it was going through the awkward adolescence that every painting goes through.  It looked like this…nice but nowhere near finished!  Since this photo, the painting has obviously come a long way.  I’ll let pictures illustrate the step by step process of it’s evolution…

Where to begin?  After my initial washes, I like to begin in areas of central interest.

I try to develop potential focal areas first.  That way, everything else will end up being developed relative to them.  If you begin in areas that are not very important, you may end up over-developing parts of your painting that should be toned down.  Some areas need to be visually dominant (focal areas), and others need to be less demanding.

Think of it this way, if every actor on the stage is shouting, you won’t know who to pay attention to…

In this painting I wanted a focal path to begin with the beekeeper, but end at the cottage.   So I began to develop the shadows on the Beekeeper and the bee box.  Then I moved up to the porch with flowers and the flag hanging out in the backyard.

BeeKeeper's Cottage in process- Rebecca Zdybel

As you can see, painting the flowers on the porch involved some negative painting around the white flowers in front of them.  I always try to stop as soon as I feel as if my subject is “readable”.  I don’t like too much detail…I find paintings that are too perfect can be dull. A little mystery is a good thing, and mystery means leaving a few things vague.

Beekeeper's Cottage- technique photo Rebecca Zdybel

Next came adding a bit of texture to the roof.  Here’s a view of how that was achieved with the help of a bit of punchinella ribbon. The result is subtle, and I didn’t have to paint every silly shingle.  Who has time for that?!

BeeKeeper's Cottage- painting by Rebecca Zdybel

The BeeKeeper and the Bee box were still lacking so I brought them along a bit further.  Trying to develop the whites with interesting color in the shadow areas. Colors that were very grayed versions of the lavender tones in the flowers. Moving colors throughout your painting is helpful to creating color harmony.  Shadows can provide great opportunities for using incidental colors from other areas of your paintings.


I include this photo to share with you that I often keep a log of what the heck I am doing along the way.  These notes can be invaluable to someone like me!  The sketchbook is also a place to work things out.  Here I’m searching color trying out effects, and documenting my process.

Although I loved the path of light created by all the white flowers, it was time to dial them back a little.  Sparing some white, and softening the hard edges left behind by masking fluid, I used yellow and varying shades of orange in the foreground flowers.  Often I evaluate in black and white, and after assessing things, I darkened the foreground tree with some darker versions of my original colors, throwing a bit of salt into the wet paint to simulate leaves and reveal the underpainting with a bit of sparkle. I also did quite a bit of negative painting in the shadow areas of the flowerbeds.

BeeKeeper's Cottage- Further development Rebecca Zdybel


BeeKeeper's Cottage- rock technique Rebecca Zdybel

Here’s a fun way to get some nice random texture for rocks.

BeeKeeper's Cottage- Rebecca Zdybel Final version

A little more negative painting, some detail on the figure, shadows in the foreground and it was almost done.  I began to think about my story…what was I trying to say?  I was telling the story of a Beekeeper, obviously.  I come from a long line of good storytellers, and thins is something I’ve learned from them…

Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.  A little exaggeration can make a good story GREAT!

Don’t be too tied to reality.  As artists, we are storytellers…this story needed a little more smoke and a few more bees buzzing around to make my story more obvious… I added them in, and Voila! (My French word for “Whew! I didn’t screw it up!”)

If you’re interested in learning more about watercolor, painting, or art in general…I’d love to see you in class!  Can’t make it to class?  Subscribe to this blog and get articles like this and early updates on new happenings in my studio. Painting classes happen weekly, and we have a great time helping our paintings evolve through awkward adolescence and into maturity…(even as we bang our heads against the wall once in a while ;-).  When we do it together, it’s not quite as painful, and can actually be fun! The friends we make along the way are a treasure.  Join our merry band of art enthusiasts by contacting me to reserve your seat in an upcoming class, or better yet, in an upcoming Art Adventure!  Listen to what I have planned…


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I’m getting ready to head back to Tuscany for my EAT PAINT COOK TOUR 2016.  If you’d like to join us, I’d love to share it with you!  Here is a link to the brochure with all the details. Sign up today, since spots are filling fast and enrollment is limited!  EAT PAINT COOK TUSCANY- 2016 Brochure Don’t miss this chance to see beautiful Tuscany as only an artist can…


Painting Workshop update: The incredible Steve Rogers (NWS TWSA AWS) is coming here to Myrtle Beach in November 2016!

Seats are going fast so think about coming to beautiful oceanfront Myrtle Beach, SC for a chance to study with this masterful artist.  Here is the photo-filled brochure for his workshop.  Painting Light and Color- Steve Rogers 2016 Workshop

Contact me today to register.

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Author Rebecca Zdybel

Artist, Instructor, Art-Travel Instructor - Spread Light, Share Love, DO Art! Rebecca Z Artist (Rebecca Zdybel) is an artist and instructor in Myrtle Beach, SC. She blogs and teaches locally and internationally. Sign up for her blog, classes, workshops, art travel tours, or see her work at RebeccaZArtist.com.

More posts by Rebecca Zdybel

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • patricia v merrell says:

    You are being a bit brilliant these days as well as entertaining. Thank you very much for taking time to share with and inspire us. We are a lucky bunch to be on this list.

    • Hi Pat, thanks for your kind comments and taking the time to check in. I hope you’re enjoying the fruits of your cutting garden as this time of the year tends to be a happy one for flowers. When I get back, I’d love to come by for a visit ❤️

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