Creating interesting backgrounds to flower paintings.

Creating interesting backgrounds to flower paintings.

To my mind if there is a flower that best reflects the hedgerows of Devon it is the wild primrose, they are everywhere when they bloom, and a beautiful and welcome sight they are.

Spring is definitely springing in my little corner of the world, despite the ever constant rain the primroses radiate their own sunshine from the hedgerows  I realise as I write these blogs, how British I really am, always talking about the weather, and the effect it has on me.

On my recent walk I snapped some crocus

Tulips in flower 





But this week I wanted to concentrate on primroses, and backgrounds 

However rendering them in watercolour is a tricky business , their pale yellow hue is hard to capture. I also wanted to shy away from a delicate rendition of them.

So I began by sketching them in quite a dynamic composition,


Then I began painting each flower, looking for the colours, looking very carefully, I used a very weak mixture of yellow ochre, cadmium yellow and lemon yellow, with a lot of water. I used blues and purple to add some shading and a brighter Indian yellow for the centre, look, look and look again, so you understand what you are painting

Keep going, but if you get too tired leave it and come back to it, no need to rush at this stage.

Once I have finished all the flowers I can go in bold and bright, I want these little flowers to pop. I am going to use, bright blues and dark geens, give the impression of leaves , add texture with salt and cling fim, give my painting a bold and contemporary background.

Once I have added one layer of texture I go back in and darken those darks , I want the background to have contrast too.

When I add my cling wrap I think about where I want the texture to be and I move it a bit so I can see the rough direction of the pattern, then I leave it overnight if possible, that way I won't mess with it.

Coming into my studio next morning is always a surprize , and hopefully a nice one. Taking off the cling film and seeing what has happened. There isn't too much to look forward to at the moment so I take my treats where I can and seeing the result, makes me happy...and yearning to have another go



I hope you can find some of that sort of joy in creating things at the moment, happy painting x

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Elisabeth Pedersen

I do so enjoy your narrative about your walks and the things you see. Our churchyard is full of primroses and cowslips so I might just give this one a go as I hate painting backgrounds 🙃.

Julie Stevens

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