Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Hanging Baskets of Petunias : Inspiration in Blue

 Hanging Basketof Petunias
"Inspiration in Blue"
Work in progress

I am a watercolour addict and I really don't want to be given a cure, or find one!
  As always its' been a very hectic day  but I have been thinking about the small study of petunias that I quickly painted in my garden yesterday evening, at the close of my painting day. I loved the  freedom in the piece. I also adored the colours which sang so beautifully to me this morning when I walked into my studio. I always leave something nice to walk into each day.  Something that I know will inspire me to  paint and oh boy, this did!

This afternoon I considered what I enjoyed most about yesterdays piece and started a new painting on a larger piece of paper. When we work "small" our  results can often be too tight because there isn't enough paper space to truly " let go".  Moving to a large white space gave me lots of room for full sweeping brushstrokes, vibrant flowing colour and my favourite, exciting watermarks.  I have had a fantastic time.

The sun shone on my shoulders as I sat  listening to birds singing  while I painted. I opted for strong, vibrant blues combined with bold Cadmium Yellow adding bursts of sunshine where needed. I had yesterdays painting to guide me as inspiration and, of course, the real flowers to look at and observe. I have started to add centres to some of the petunias in my new painting. I have also worked on my favourite " main " flower giving it hints of petal shapes, lines and shadows. All the surrounding petunias will  make this one stand out as they will not have so much detail.

 Yesterdays small study of my hanging basket flowers sat alongside my new larger painting, on my easel today.

I am definitely making use of  lost and found edges in this composition.  And I will be making the most of the "Seaweed Effect" I mention in my last book " Atmospheric Watercolours". A form of intricate layering that builds up a painting in sections to add interest.

What hit me so strongly today is the number of artists who only ever paint from photographs. Even worse, painting from other peoples photographs of things they have never seen. I know we can't all go to Africa to see elephants or  travel to see the landscapes we would dearly love to capture in our art. But only by painting from life can we catpture " life" in out paintings. And really stretch our skills as artists. I can paint from photographs in Winter when the weather is  awful. But for now painting outside as much as possible will aid my observation, improve my  colour combination techniques and help me see how light plays on my subjects casting  beautiful shadows in a variety of colours that will definitely be lost in a photograph!

Artist Tip for the Day? Stop painting from photographs!

Yesterdays petunia study , inspired by my hanging baskets of flowers.


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