Snowdrops

Snowdrops

Wow, what a difference a day makes, we seem to have been sitting under blankets of grey drizzle here in Devon for days then yesterday , the skies were an unbroken cerulean blue. 

A walk through mists ,and ancient oak woodland at Fingle bridge

 

then to emerge into the sunshine, what a joy. It was cold but the sun was such a welcome sight.

 

If , like me, you struggle sometimes the depths of winter when light levels are low I would take the advice to get outside ( if you can) just for a few minutes. The light will always be brighter and there will be something to see to lift your spirits.

 

 

So as we head hopefully towards Spring we turn our heads towards the ground, Looking for the new shoots of growth. among the first of the intrepid flowers are the snow drops, and I love to try to paint them . 

Never easy painting white flowers onto white paper , but there are ways.

 

I begin by sketching out a group of flowers. Then carefully painting the green stem . Try to capture the detail, the highlights and the shadow. The devil really is in the detail here.

Can you see I use lemon yellow , then sap green and then add indigo to make it really dark.

 

Then the flowers themselves, the petals. i use cerulean blue and a mixture of cadmium red and cobalt blue to create a shadow colour.

Be subtle but bold.

Then just keep going, paint what you see, not what you think you see. You can paint lighter petals behind stems as the stems will be darker and therefore appear in front of the flowers.

I am still going, giving myself time to look at the detail and try to replicate it.

Now I am working on the greens again. There are lots of greens, from acid yellows to blues and darker greens. It's the contrasts and attention to detail that make this piece work.

Now I move onto the fleshier leaves and I want to use as many colours as I can.

Finally I stand back, add a bit of colour into the sky and when completely dry get rid of any unwanted pencil lines. 

Hoping for lots of new growth, longer days and signs of new life, the cycle begins again and I am so glad to be around to witness it. 


2 comments

  • Sue

    Thank you, Rachel, for – as always – such a beautiful painting and blog and for being so generous – as ever – in explaining your process and the fantastic advice on colours that you have used – which helps enormously – even ‘though my efforts are still nowhere near as good, but you give me enough encouragement to keep trying! Snow drops are one of my favourite flowers – they are such a symbol of courage, determination, simplicity, purity, love and hope – and your words, as ever, always echo the sentiments of your chosen piece. As you say, we all benefit from a bit of uplifting especially in the grey days of Winter, when getting out into Nature and the fresh air and seeing the sun (if we’re lucky!), snowdrops and the first new shoots do indeed all help to lift our spirits again. Thank you.

  • Korina

    Thanks again, Rachel, for sharing your invaluable expertise, experience, and wisdom!
    This time I’ve learned:
    “Be subtle but bold”
    Either I’m subtle, but not bold, or I’m bold, but not subtle! :-D
    I’ve tried snow drops last winter: very bold, but completely unsubtle; they look like I hammered them into the paper :-D
    Another lesson:
    Paint what you see, not what you think you see… Thank you!
    Over here, in the mountains, I have to wait another four or six weeks, before the next snowdrops make their appearance and the new circle of life starts all over <3

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