Realising I need a few floral paintings to help support the upcoming demo I’m doing, when I spotted some images of cactus dahlias I had taken in the summer I thought that they might be a worthwhile challenge. Indeed they were. I used the same colours as for the Hellebores I did a few days ago. I do find shading yellow quite difficult, but it seems to have worked here. The colour of the dahlias is a lemon yellow which doesn’t pull it away from the foliage much and as I wanted to rise into a light source in the painting I started to lose tonal options in the top part though the subtle changes are growing on me.
I need a few floral paintings so I photographed some heleniums in the garden. I got quite low and photographed upwards into the light and decided to combine a range of views. I wanted to get the light coming through the top flowers and onto the lower ones. As I began the painting I lost some nerve, feeling that the yellows in shade weren’t that convincing, but as the painting neared completion I regained my nerve and enthusiasm and am quite pleased with the way the light works.
In my effort to build up a few more flower paintings I decided to have a go at the gladioli I planted in one of my flower borders . There may be a bit too much red, but I was trying to get a hot border with lots of reds and oranges so this looks like a military parade.
I have been doing a lot of walking as part of my recuperation from a hip operation. This means looking into gardens as I slowly pass by. On one occasion I saw a great view through a gate into a sunlit back garden and wondered whether I could make some kind of painting from it . I then realised I needed a point of interest for the view, but when I decided on a slumbering subject I realised that perhaps a fence and a gate didn’t make for a very interesting foreground. So I opened up the foreground and put some peonies and catnip there instead. So the painting bears absolutely no resemblance to what I saw – except perhaps a sunlit lawn – it has just been built up out of necessity. Well, it amuses me anyway.
A local painting club has asked me to demonstrate a floral watercolour next week , so I just tried out this painting of roses which I did from three photos. I need to be able to do it in two hours and probably they’ll stop for a cup of tea in the middle so painting time might be reduced to 90 minutes. I like to try it out so I know I can do it in the time. I will use more lemon yellow next time for the flowers and rearrange the leaves a little so I get a better feeling of depth.
I was once asked to paint a landscape for a Rotary Club meeting. Near to the day of the meet the man who arranged it let slip that they gave about 20 minutes for the talk. I then pared down the demo and on the day did the painting in 19 minutes and they seemed to like the result!
Meagre pickings today. I had to do another watercolour flower demo and thought that some roses might be worth trying. I had seen these climbing roses in France the other week and had a notion to try them. I really wanted to get some loose forms coming down the frame ending with perhaps one which was more defined, but was aware that following the demo I will be running a workshop next week when the class have a try, so I needed to approach it more formally and methodically. Well here it is, but in doing it, I also realised that it might be too much for the less experienced – I certainly had a tussle with it.
So back to the drawing board. Instead I went for the old fallback, the hellebores. Well, in the end all I want is to build confidence in loose washes and mixing on the paper. So here was what I did this morning as the demoo piece. It will be interesting to see what the class produce next week.
I have to do a demonstration and workshop in September on floral watercolours so I thought I’d get my backside into gear and try out some possibilities. The hollyhocks is a version of the first flower painting I sold and as such is a solid standby. Foxgloves are flowers I find very fussy to paint and I was trying to get the impression of them here. I think I have overdone it again and need to get less specific, maybe I’ll have another go, but at least I have something to present.