Another one of the watercolour flowers to end the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge. The focus in this one of on the stamens that hold the flower’s pollen, and the shape of the petals provide a route to the source for all pollinating insects: natures clever design at work again, enticing the carriers of precious cargo to come and collect it for distribution.
The second of my abstracts of watercolour flowers created from one original watercolour of a clemetis flower. Yesterday’s painting was about capturing the way big heavy plops of raindrops splatter off the petals of flowers eventually leaving them drenched.
My follow on from that was to consider the verdant green and crisp clear colours that pop out immediately after the rainfall when the air is washed clean of dust and the plants seem to be taking great gulps of cool fresh air. I don’t know yet what the other paintings will bring. This is an exploration that is self-guided from the point of cutting the original painting into pieces.
My last painting in the One Hundred Wash Challenge was one of the watercolour flowers I did in the series. It was a purple clematis flower painted from a photograph in our garden. Looking back at it now, it was a bit ‘Meh’ because it lacked any real excitement. But to be fair, the purpose of the challenge wasn’t to create completed paintings, but to learn about pigment and paper.
As with many of my original challenge pieces, it has been sitting in the browser in my studio, waiting for it’s day to come. And today was that day.
It was time to slice it up and spice it up – and create some value for Running with Brushes from it.
Creating abstracts from watercolour flowers
Naturally, I had to turn this into a challenge within a challenge. I decided to try and create at least four abstracts from this one, and convey something different about the flower in each one. So here’s the first of the paintings I created out of it. Tomorrow I’ll post the second one.
This morning a photographer was standing in my studio taking photographs while I painted the first brushstrokes of a watercolour landscape for Running With Brushes.
I’m not accustomed to painting while someone watches. It’s possibly one of the things that puts me off plein air painting (just one, mind you. There are more). But this morning we needed some photographs for an article about Running With Brushes for the Cambridge News. So I laid down a quick wash using a brighter blue than I normally would for a sky, and some green gold. I chose those colours because they would have impact and visibility for camera.
This evening I went back and completed the landscape which, led by the colours I started with, turned into a lush rainforest filled gorge at the foot of a mountain range. Now I’m really just itching to see the article when it comes off the presses.
Some subject seem ideal for a particular medium – like watercolour flowers. The way the pigments float across the paper lends itself to conveying the softness of petals and the subtle curves of leaf and stem.
This week, as I walked to meetings in London, I particularly notices windowbox after windowbox of glorious pink cyclamen. They had so many blooms they stood out in splashes of colour threaded through the streets of the city. And their blossoms looked like crowds of bright little ballerinas. I really wanted to capture their dancing feel on paper.
Every January I have good intentions about painting a snowdrop watercolour. They are almost the most exciting flowers of all because they arrive just when we think summer will never come again, and they remind us that beauty in the garden is coming soon. In fact they are the first beauties of the season. This evening I decided to play with getting a fairly strong texture into the painting I was finally doing (of snowdrops). Day 23 of the 30 Paintings in 30 Days challenge in upon us (in my case, ‘was upon us’) and this is my submission. I rather like these bigger, slightly more decorated bell snowdrops. They remind me of little ballerina skirts twirling on the ends of their stems.
Snowdrop Watercolour: One of a range winter flowers painted for Running With Brushes:
Here’s the collection of all flower paintings (with the other seasons dropped in for completeness on Running with Brushes.
My series of paintings of fishing flies has led to quite some interesting discoveries. I found out about a film called Kiss the Water about Megan Boyd. It happened to be screened in London this week so I went along to see it. The film is a combination wonderful animated paintings and images of Megan’s Scotland, and interviews with people who knew her. Well worth watching if you have a chance to see it.
Just like yesterday’s post, the view from my window over the weekend was the inspiration for this watercolour landscape, only this time I used artists licence and changed the season from winter to Autumn so that I could use some lovely gold and rust colours to give the painting some warmth.
Inspiration for today’s tree in watercolour came from outside my window where a majestic old tree leaned gently over the little weir on the river. I rather liked the seemingly protective angle of the old trunk over the water, and the knotty evidence of it’s longevity progressing upward towards the branches which gradually bent further and further towards the surface of the river.
I had to get creative to paint my roses in watercolour today.
Pack light watercolour kit.
I’m taking a couple of days to get off the daily treadmill and chill out at a spa for the weekend. It’s a chance to read, rest, do some stretching sessions, and be pampered. It also meant packing really light.
I had planned to pre-paint my couple of entries for this weekend, but I was just too busy so I had to make a plan: a few sheets of pre-cut paper, one brush and the Georgia Mansur palette from Daniel Smith. Georgia very kindly sent me a sample sheet for her palette before I went on her workshop last year. It has some wonderful juicy colours. I’ve experimented with it before, so this would be a great way to work with her palette again, and pack light at the same time.
Roses in Watercolour
Having worked out the ‘how’, the next point was the usual question: “What to paint?”
When in doubt, I trawl through the photographs on my laptop for inspiration. I have some glorious flower photographs taken in our garden by Marc. Valentine’s Day is round the corner, so I thought I should paint a few roses in watercolour for sale on Running with Brushes.
I’ll get back to the fishing flies collection again soon.