Polyanthus: watermedia, 14×11″


Slowly, spring flowers are appearing. I pushed things on a bit by visiting the local garden centre and bringing some home.

This week’s painting is unusual, in that it is primarily watermedia, something I haven’t worked with very much. In addition, it isn’t on watercolour paper but white Pastel-Mat card. Water washes behave in a quite erratic manner on this surface and are not easy to control or direct to where you want them. They also “creep” when you are not looking, so if you put on a green wash somewhere and then go away to let it dry, you will come back to find that it has “crept” beyond the expected boundaries.

I had intended to do this as a part drawing, part wash; in the end it is mostly watercolour with a few Conte pastel-pencil lines. The PastelMat card makes the colours a little matte-looking and slightly dull….the reds of this flower were very deep, strong and almost reddish-black.

The whole thing was started with a pastel-pencil drawing, directly from the plant. The surface was then wetted in sections and paint added; permanent alizarin crimson plus ultramarine blue, mostly. Details were added with touches of cadmium orange, yellow and a little burnt sienna. The leaves were washed broadly in gamboge, then overlaid with a cobalt blue; a damp brush used to manipulate the washes.

I left it at the stage shown, preferring the understatement of the leaves. I did really need, perhaps, to bring the central stem down a bit further (it was actually hiding behind that small green leaf at centre), but may just touch that in at a later date.

Other matters: two paintings “Rudbeckias” and “Pewter Mug with Daisies” are currently away from home on approval period. Images at Pinterest seem to be getting a lot of impressions and it is interesting to see what is most popular; cloud oil paintings lead the way by some margin!

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