Painting a poppy by the seat of your plants!

Painting a poppy by the seat of your plants!

Hi everyone, I feel i am becoming more and more British by the week, beginning each blog commenting on our good old British weather. Last week was way too hot, this week we have had torrential rain, winds and much, much cooler temperatures. Summer now seems a long way off. Today we are seeing some welcome sunshine, but a breezy day , perfect for getting that washing dry, blowing the cobwebs away and starting afresh.

This year has been a challenge by any stretch of the imagination, all over the world we are united in our dread of this awful virus, which has permeated into all our lives to varying degrees.Here in our little village we have been relatively lucky, but entertaining and trying to motivate 2 teenagers, while still trying to run my painting business and a hubby working from home has been a challenge.Our food bill has increased ( a lot!) how much can a 16 yr old boy eat!!! and our broadband has been stretched to breaking point...making tempers fray and teenagers very annoyed.

Today was another milestone in our family as my eldest got his GCSE results....thankfully he's got what he needs to carry on with the next stage of his life, but what a year!!!

So what better way to unwind, and be  thankful that we are still keeping going than to paint a poppy, especially one that is blooming just outside the studio ( or was) 

Keep those photos you take as reference, they do help

Next I sketch it out

and spray the paper with my spray bottle.

Then I drop reds and yellows around the poppy. This is fun, remember they dry much lighter than they look at first.

Leave that to dry completely.

Now you can start on the flower, I paint the first 'layer' if you like in the palest yellow

Leave some of the paper untouched so the white of the paper can be your lightest light.

I mix some red into the yellow to create the next tone. 

and begin to create the veins on the petals very subtlety, this is all wet in wet.

Now I add a stronger yellow, I am layering the colour and judging how much to use. It all takes practice and some days it works better than others .

You see now I am working with delicious colours, look how that red ( scarlet) blends into that yellow. Oh I do love watercolour.....

Keep going, preserving your whites and letting the yellow shine through.

And don't be afraid to go very dark. Look at a poppy the bottom is dark, almost black. Now I never use black , so this is a very dark purple made up of cadmium red and cobalt blue.

Leave that to dry

and paint the other petals in a similar way.

I also like to add dome indigo to the background as this highlights the lights of the poppy .

Move your paper around so the paint flows in the direction you want it to.

Finally I painted the stem and this tricky , painting juggling tones and colour is done. Happy days, have a go you never know what will happen with watercolour .

Next week we are lucky enough to be heading to the coast of West Wales so see family and spend a week by the sea. So no time for a blog, but plenty of time to sketch and gather more inspiration for my return x 


1 comment

  • Sharon

    Hi Rachel. I am a graphic designer but I can’t paint. Work is slow at the moment, thankfully still coming in so I am using the downtime to learn to watercolour via YouTube. I bumped into your work on the internet and I am so inspired by the vibracy of colour and movement. Wonderful! Thank you. Sharon

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