We are becoming a nation of avid gardeners ( even more than ever) , taking joy in each new flower and seeing our gardens through new eyes. At least I think that is so for those of us lucky enough to have a garden and the time to enjoy it . I think as our horizons have shrunk , we have come to really appreciate the details . I am not sure if flowers are genuinely better this year ( due to the lovely weather we've been having) or we are just noticing them more.
I am often asked, how can you decide what to paint ? Well for me inspiration will come from a daily walk or just a stroll around the garden, I must admit I always have my phone with me, it is invaluable. So whenever you see a flower, a tree, a bee, a view and you think....wow I'd love to paint that you can take a snap of it. Of course if you have your sketch book handy or a spot in the garden or wherever to set up your easel then en plein air is a wonderful way to paint. But many of us can't just drop everything our camera phone becomes a wonderful tool.
I love the feeling that I get when I feel "I can't wait to paint that", but it can also be infuriating, each new subject is a puzzle, especially so when you are starting out as you have less tools in your tool box to know where to start, and so comes the inspiration for this blog. A good friend asked How would I go about painting her roses
Ok, I thought how would I?
Firstly I think painting is about finding the essence of a subject and painting what is important.
Firstly I sketched out 3 of the blooms,
Beginning with the main flower I flooded the whole area with water, the weather is so hot at the moment that water soon evaporates , so be more generous than you would normally be.
Now you have created a sort of puddle , my aim now is to drop the pink around the edges, I am using Alizarin Crimson, as my pink shade.
Now while it is still wet, encourage some of the pigment to move towards the centre, but be careful to maintain the white centre.
Next I added Indian yellow to the middle while it was all still wet. This is all very tricky as you don't want it to merge too much and some brown red in the middle too, for the darker area.
Next i popped it outside in the sun, so it will dry without me fiddling too much. It dries in no time at all just now, and it means I can get on with the next bit. Watercolour is so affected by the temperature in which you are painting , so much we have to contend with.
Now I can carry on adding some more layers, with the crimson, and looking to define some of the petals.
Carry on in much the same way with the other flowers.
Now I want some darker spots in the centres, so I cut a hole in some scrap paper and used it to mask off the rest of the painting
Now I can work loosely on the foliage, I add yellows and blues to greens and a small touch of red. I like the colours to merge and I like to look loose, not too specific . So let your brush dance, use it horizontally , and add water splashes too.
It all adds to the texture and the interest in the piece, the real joy of watercolour.
Finally I added some shadows to the leaves and some gold ink to the flower centres, oh and a bumble bee. But that maybe just me, so next time you are admiring something remember it may become your next subject....
Happy painting x