British  Bluebells

British Bluebells

At the risk of sounding xenophobic there is nothing quite like an British bluebell. We have a rough and wild cottage garden and the Spanish bluebells have taken over.   But a short walk down my lane and I can be surrounded by the  real deal, a bank of deciduous trees and lovely native bluebells. 

The sunshine has returned, the Spring is melting into early summer, sitting in my garden i can pretend ( for a while at least ) that the world is normal. I think in reality we are all anxious about what the coming weeks and months will look like.How we will adapt to the world , what we will have to do to keep safe and keep everyone else safe. I don't know about you, but I can only watch a certain amount of news, I watch the basics then head back to the garden where nature soothes my soul. Painting also does me good, it takes me away to a different place. 

If you feel inclined then have a go, do something creative and take yourself away from the 'now', into a different place. It's not all about the destination, the journey is just as important, I wanted to create some splishy splashy bluebells , not sure I quite got there, but here's how I got where I did.

So firstly find some bluebells and sketch them out.

Then I spray the dry paper with my spray bottle, and I get quite a large brush, and fill it with the colours of the blue bells. Cobalt blue, cerulean blue, violet, purple, etc. I then tap my brush so the colour falls on the page. Some onto wet paper some onto dry, These are quite weak solutions 

Then let it dry completely. As you can see it dries much lighter that it is when it is wet.

Now I will use those colours to paint the bluebells. Start with the lightest colour first. Really look at the flower and see where the light hits it. Use the colours you see, and make sure you go from light to dark.

Now I can work my way down the flower. The top of the stem is a purple, blue colour but it becomes greener towards the bottom. I like to go carefully, adding the ridges down the bell, creating the roundedness of the shape.

You can see here how I have merged the blue at the top of the stem into the green, then greeny yellow at the bottom, I also wanted the stem to fade away so I use clean water to merge it into the paper.



In this final photo of my process you can see how I begin each flower. This is a very weak wash , with cerulean blue, and some violet, then I will drop the darker colours into it. All the time being conscious of where I want the light to remain.

You can keep going for as long as you want adding more  and more bluebells, Or if you are happy you can stop. Painting puts you in control, well almost ( watercolour does tend to have a life of it's own). Have fun with it, and forget about the world if only for an hour or 2.



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Very helpful thanks. BTW it is not xenophobic to love your own country and things about it, xenophobia is hating other countries

Roger Helm

Hello, thank you for the drawing tips but please make the instruction more detailed when actually painting


Thanks for this one.


This is so lovely!! You write beautifully!! I think you should produce a book of these sort of thoughts and notes.

Jennifer Roe

I love the bluebells!


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