A while ago I purchased a pack of Strathmore watercolor cards. I used two of them to create Easter cards. This year I decided to use a few more to send out post Christmas thank you notes. Flowers always seem like good candidates for cards, and I have numerous photos of flowers I can use as resources. I reviewed several photos, and finally selected a purple-blue iris as the resource for the first card.
Since the size of the finished watercolor will be small, I wanted a closeup of the iris that would fit fill the 5 x 7 card. I developed a close cropped pencil sketch of the Iris, which I copied to my sketch pad. I decided on a color palette of Quinacridone Rose and Lemon Yellow and Phthalocyanine Blue. These pigments provided both the greens and purples I was looking for.
Before painting the card I did a painting in my sketchbook to test colors and work out what I wanted for the background. I painted the iris first, one petal at a time. I wet the parts of the petal that would be purple then dropped in colors to let them mix. As the petals dried I added darker lines. Depending on how wet the paper was the new applications of color mixed with the previous colors. I moved from petal to petal adding darker and darker purples and blues. Finally added yellow and green to the Iris. When the petals were dry I came back and added the background. I used a wet wash and added impressions of leaves.
I used both the photo and the painting from my sketchbook as references for painting the card. The Iris on the card is a bluer purple, and the background has a more even wash of yellow-green. I also was careful to leave white edges on the Iris petals (they got lost in the first painting). The white edges are important elements that help shape the petals and provide depth. By leaving the background lighter the Iris stands out more.
Post painting, I decided to add the logo I use on my business cards (at the right) to the back of the watercolor card. It didn't take long to put together the draft document to print the logo on the cards. It did take a while to get the Cannon Pro9000 printer to actually print the logo. It is a very good printer, but it can be picky about settings. Once I had it working I went ahead and printed the logo on all the remaining blank cards.