Clouds of cow parsley ( too many greens ! )

Clouds of cow parsley ( too many greens ! )

Hello from an abundant Devon, the garden has greened up with all the rain and everything is growing at breakneck speed. It's that time of year when you want things to slow down a bit, that longed for flower only seems to last a day or two and then it is gone again till next year. So I am trying to enjoy each new bloom, and spot the things it's easy to miss. We artists are lucky as we can spend an hour or three just studying a single plant, and whether or not the painting goes to plan, we have properly 'seen', and remembered. 

Everything is so abundant , the lanes are overflowing in greens, the village is full of flowers.

Devon is a beautiful county and one I have been lucky enough to call home for twenty years now. I walk almost every day and relish the beauty in the lanes and fields around my Mid Devon home. Today I thought I would share a painting that is almost entirely green, and I know green is a tricky colour to master. I have been given several tips about green, never buy pre-mixed green sticks in my mind. But I do, I use them as a base and mix with darker blues or lighter yellows, and always a touch of red to knock them back a bit, and make them look more natural. 

Today is a scene from up my lane and across the fields a very favourite place of mine,

Firstly I did  a rough sketch, and I masked out the cow parsley heads with some masking fluid and a paper clip.

I took a photo on one of my walks and used that as a basis for the painting

Here is a close-up of where I applied the masking fluid.

When the masking fluid is completely fry I can begin painting , I start at the top of the painting and I lose myself in the greens. This is how I do it, see all the leaves on the trees as one shape of many tones. I start with a bright lemon green, and I roll the brush on the paper creating jagged edged, then I drop in darker greens and even darker greens then back to the bright green. I also leave some of the white paper showing .

You can see from the photo above, that the shape of the tree, comes from the different tonal values. I add indigo to a sap green and a tiny touch of cad red to get the very dark green. Keep moving and adding and try not to go over the same place. I also splatter water onto the green, to add more texture, you could also try a touch of salt.

I have also begun the field on the left, very distant trees in a bluey purple and then a lemon green and darker waves to see the crops coming through, and the wavy field pattern.

Now I am back on the right side again, using different shades of green to create shapes. Where I have put the masking fluid, I can go very dark as then the white of the paper will show up more. The line of bushes and hedges under the trees, are given shape by tonal values again. Keep trying different shades on scrap paper, I like green gold, sap green and hookers green dark and light, then I add in yellows and blues to change the shade, and always a touch of red.

I have worked my way across the whole scene now, and so it is time to leave it to dry completely. The day I painted this was warm and sunny, so I left it outside, this was great as it dried very quickly and it avoided the temptation to fiddle.

Also time to admire my poppies, Patties Plum, these only flower for a day or so, but I do love them especially the colour.

Now to rub of the masking fluid carefully with an eraser.

Finally I add a bit of shadow to the cow parsley with a weak wash of cad red and cobalt blue. I also added some grasses in the foreground with a dark green and some splatters and splashes.

There is nothing nicer in the height of summer to get lost in greens, and play around with the patterns watercolour makes. If you have a loose sketch to hang them all on, then who knows where  you'll end up, and you should have some fun trying.

Go on drown in some greens x


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Thank you for another interesting blog!
And a great tip about mixing greens. I love your work btw 😊

Lynne Pearson

Absolutely loved reading this blog and following how you created this great painting. I like you get great pleasure from the different greens of the surrounding countryside with the added splashes of white cow parsley and wild daisies and then out of the blue a bright red field poppy,wirh the added pleasure of bird song and buzzing bees, happiness all rolled into one.
Thank you for sharing how you painted this scene, great tips with the brush strokes for the trees and leaves. I have come to the conclusion I paint too wet to start with when trying a landscape like this it all just ends up a muddy puddle of nothingness!

Diane Hayward

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