‘Flowers in Watercolour’
Friday 22nd July 2022
Julie began the Zoom Demonstration by introducing herself. She has a foundation in art with a degree in printed textile design. Flowers have always been her inspiration and have had a strong influence on her work. She has had several books published by Search Press, an arts and craft publisher in the UK, and she contributes to Leisure Painter magazine which will have an article on the poppy painting below.
Before starting her demonstration Julie also showed some of her finished paintings. She likes to paint freehand as it is more spontaneous. She uses the background to pull the whole painting together. For instance, as below, when she is painting blue delphiniums she will put some of the same blue in the background.
Sometimes she paints the background first. In the case of the pink rose below she painted in the rose over the pink background. At other times she will start wet on dry and put in the background afterwards.
Julie will be working directly from the vase of flowers she has chosen but she has also taken a photograph for reference in case the flowers wilt and change shape during the course of the evening.
These are the colours Julie will use for this painting: Opera Rose, Permanent Rose, Quinacridone Magenta, Scarlet Lake, French Ultramarine, Cobalt Blue, Prussian Blue, Transparent Yellow, Phthalo Green. She likes to create her greens with yellow and blue but sometimes she will mix Phthalo Green with Quinacridone Magenta, its complimentary colour, to produce a desired shade.
She will be working on a block pad which means the paper has not been stretched. The focal point will be the rose in the centre so this is where she will start, working wet on dry, which will help to keep it looking fresh. She will use Quinacridone Magenta, softening the edges as she goes before it dries. Julie always has kitchen paper to hand to dry her brush so that she can do this. She adds a hint of yellow for the stamens and the reflection of this on the petals. She will keep the flower slightly lighter on the left.
The little palette that Julie is using she likes because it has mixing plates on both sides. She got this from Herrings in Dorchester. She also uses Jackman’s in Derbyshire for art supplies and explained that she refills the pans from tubes of watercolour paint. She also likes Golden QOR watercolours especially when she is using her larger palette.
The paint brushes she is using for painting the flowers are Da Vinci Maestro Series 35. For the background she switches to a Da Vinci Squirrel mob. The area where there will be Veronicas has already been masked. She starts by almost stippling the yellow areas of the background, then she uses Quinacridone Magenta, Cobalt Blue and Yellow to create the mauve areas.
The background will pull the painting together so Julie puts Quinacridone Magenta where the scabious flowers will be, the same is true for the phlox which are a purplish hue. She paints blue where the Japanese anemones are and pink in the background of the rose and hydrangea. She would normally leave the background to dry naturally as using a hairdryer does risk the colours moving a little but for this demonstration she will dry it quickly with a hairdryer.
After the break Julie went back in to strengthen the colours of the central rose. She put more pink in to create the cup shape adding darker tones in the recesses of the petals. Moving to the hydrangea she paints in little outlines of flowers remembering the the profile of the little flowers are elliptical.
After painting the outlines of the florets, it is time to add depth by painting the negative shapes in between them, sometimes adding Quinacridone Magenta and Phthlo Green between the florets for added depth. She will return to this again a little later.
The anemone is achieved by negative painting around the petal edges. Julie takes the pink she is using right to the edge of the central rose. Then using a No.6 brush she paints the yellow stamens. She will use French Ultramarine and Transparent Yellow to make some greens. The Marguerite behind the green leaves comes by pulling the green away from the petal edges. She deepens the shade and adds some stems. By using the same two colours in different proportions it is possible to create a variety of shades.
The light is already changing the colour of the deep purple phlox when Julie comes to paint them. They are painted wet on dry, then to deepen the shade she paints wet in wet with Prussian Blue and Permanent Pink. She leaves a little white dot in the centre and uses negative painting again for some of the petal shapes at the edges.
Using a No.6 brush Julie works on the scabious and the lilac. She mixes Winsor Blue Green Shade and a little Burnt Sienna to produce the warm greens for the alchemilla. She then moves to the white flowers in the bottom left of the painting. She starts with the stamens in the centre of the flowers, dragging a little of the yellow where it is reflected on the petals. Mauve and yellow makes grey and she uses this to develop shadows and differentiate the flowers from each other.
After working on the leaves around the white flowers and adding shadow to the leaf below the hydrangea, Julie returns to the hydrangea to darken the right side and give the base more shadow so that it has a bulbous shape. She adds blue to the background to bring out one side of the vase and a deep lilac to do the same for the other side. She also indicates some of the pattern in the vase itself. Finally she dries the painting once again to remove the masking fluid before flicking a little paint around the alchemilla.
So many flowers with lovely subtle shades and colours. It was wonderful to watch this painting develop over the course of her watercolour demonstration.
Julie kindly sent a photo of her signed finished painting as seen here.
Screen grabs and write up by Carole Head