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Floral muddles

There is something I have in the past struggled to paint, a subject that should be easy, and is certainly one that a lot of people enjoy painting. It is a subject that is probably as far away from figure painting that you can get. Which is probably why I have struggled on some occasions with it! Because a lot of artists will do landscape paintings, but usually only a few will do figure paintings as well (I know of some artists who are more than happy to paint fields, trees, sky, buildings, water and far hills, but the minute you mention putting people in the picture they shudder at the thought!!!).  But this is a subject that is more specialised, and one that I am certainly not known for!

And the mystery subject is …………..”Flowers!”

So when I knew I was going to the art workshop last Saturday I thought that this time I would get it right, I would get over my supposed flower phobia, and do something decent. I even did it all the proper way and picked some flowers from my garden – the previous owner, Anne, had informed me they were “Scabious” when I enquired what they were, as they weren’t a flower I knew.  So, I turned up at the workshop with my freshly cut flowers, and sat near my friend Janet, who came over and said “Oh, what unusual Cornflowers!” which lead on to us having a bit of a horticultural  conversation as to whether they were Cornflowers or scabious, and I’m still not sure, as I haven’t had a definitive response to my query as to what they indeed are.

I started by arranging my three flowers in the glass vase I had taken for that purpose, and finding the right balance of shape, form, contrasts, negative shapes, and focal point, and then when I was happy with all of that, I started to draw them on the watercolour paper that I had pre-stretched the night before. The tutor prefers Bockingford paper for the white-ness of the paper, which suits me fine, as I prefer it to any other paper that I use, by a long way. She showed us how she paints Wisteria in two different ways – by wet in wet, and by wet on dry paper, both showing different ways of tackling the same subject. And she was the perfect sort of tutor as far as I was concerned, as she didn’t spend all day painting herself (well, not herself as such, but you know what I mean!), and let us have most of the day painting ourselves (well, not actually painting our bodies, but….. oh, you know!). So, I was able to take her guiding words to use for my flower painting of the “purpley flowers of no definitive name” and get a good lot of painting done in the day. But, not enough to finish it, but almost to do so.

 I brought the painting home triumphantly, as I knew that I had done a good job. I had cracked the flowers!!! YAY! I can paint flowers!!!!!! 

And last night continued working on it, to the point where I can happily say it is finished, and done in my style, with splatter and a loose wet way of painting part of it, to make it look more lively, and less of a static botanical painting.

I am very pleased with it, with the flower heads, full on, three quarter profile, and full profile, as well as the flower head just about to burst open. And the different leaves, denticulated in shape, with veins showing, and the stalks, with enough negative shapes to make the picture interesting. One of the women at the workshop said that her brain “couldn’t do negative shapes” which surprised me, as I learnt to do it many years ago, and can do it easily now. Its just a matter of looking at the shapes in a different way and painting the shapes between shapes, instead of the shapes themselves.

So, here it is, my watercolour painting.

And its title? – well its called “Anne’s Scabious, Janet’s Cornflowers” and it’ll stay with that name even when I find out which one of them is right!!!

So, flowers, done. I can tick that box now!!!!! LOL