Painting sunshine ( a sunflower)

Painting sunshine ( a sunflower)

Today is Thursday, a week already since my last blog. I may look back on these blogs in a few years and think wow, that was the time when we were all in 'lockdown'. New words have entered our everyday lives, shops are shut, people are at home and sadly  people are ill. I think we are all finding new connections, new ways to communicate, and maybe getting a new insight into what it feels like to be isolated ( as so many older people are every day) . I am making more phone calls, have used zoom and skype., and am getting used to seeing folk walking past in masks. 

Today while I sit in my sunshine filled Devon garden I thought I would share with you all a sunflower painting.Sunflowers are such a happy flower, they remind me of the film Calendar girls, they are a symbol of hope and happiness, so what better thing to paint in the midst of a pandemic ( not words I ever thought I would type!!)

I want to show you ( again) how I achieve my loose style, I am sure there are other ways but this is how I am doing things now. I am sure my technique will change, sometimes just trying something new , or watching another painter will inspire you and hey presto you paint in a slightly new way. I think this week I have been venturing out a bit and my work is subtly changing . In years to come I may well look back with interest at the techniques I am using now, so take what to will from my ramblings . Use the things that make sense and plot your own course.

Firstly I sketch out a sunflower, in this case I used an image from Pixabay 



Now the scary bit, and the bit that control freaks can't handle. 



Spray the paper with a little spray bottle with water, make sure some goes outside the lines , be daring.




I use a metal box to hold my paints I spray those too every time I use them, and when it is hot , I need to spray them numerous times. I am going to use yellows and greens to splash around the sunflower. Here are my selection, Indian yellow, lemon yellow, cadmium yellow, green gold etc.



Let the paint run into the water you sprayed on the paper.Vaguely put yellow round the flower and green round the leaves.



I have paint ready to go but don't have it to concentrated,



I use a big brush to drop the paint on the paper

Then leave it to dry, walk away from it, don't fiddle and see what happens.


You can see it has dries much lighter and gives you a background to paint your sunflower onto.


I like to be much more precise now, and paint each petal as I go, Adding lights and darks, leaving the white of the paper to be the highlight.



Work your way around the sunflower, leaving petals out to go back to if you don't want the paint to run .

Add shadows where petals overlap each other. You don't have to do this all in one go if you are getting tired or bored, leave it a while and come back to it.



So now I can start on the centre. 



I use a yellow wash first then while it is wet I drop red brown dots into it to give the impression of seeds. It gets darker around the edge.

There is also a hint of green in the middle.



Now let it dry and I add some loosely painted leaves, where they touch the petals you can go quite dark, then the petals will stand out more.

Work on the leaves much like you did the petals but using yellows and greens.

I like to drop water in too and let watercolour weave it's magic.



Then I like to add a little bumble bee, but it is up to you.


How to paint a little bit more sunshine in our lives. I do hope you are all coping in these strange times, I hope you can find some joy amid all the bad news. Have a go at painting it certainty takes your mind off everything else for a while, 

Take care




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Hi Rachel, I really love your work and I wondered if the sunflower with the bumble bee (the one you painted to show others how you do it) is for sale. Not the one called Sunflower Sunshine. One day I’d love to buy one with the three ladies in the sea too, just love them. Looking forward to hearing from you. Thanking you in advance. Kind regards, Lynn Millen.

Lynn Millen

where to buy cialis cheap


Love your work very talented.
Where do I buy the paints from and what brushes did you use.
I will have go soon.


I love your style! I painted a sunflower like this today and your thistle yesterday.


Thank you for sharing. A cheerful subject and inspiring me to try !

Keep safe x


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