Christmas Rose Bouquet developing as a work in progress
I thought I would add to my blog on Christmas roses and end the day in my studio with a happy memory. When I paint I don't have a set destination or goal. I know for example with this painting I am working from a single Christmas rose that I picked in my garden. I am using this solitary flower and looking at it from different angles to add to a composition that is growing by the minute.
At first my painting was intended to be two full blooms and a half flower,painted from a sideways view. A connecting wash created the backdrop. And I liked it this way.
Stage 1. My two main flowers and a soft background wash.
Next I began to create a more accurate outline on the lower flower. I did this by painting the outer edge of two petals then I gradually bled this colour away with my brush into the surrounding area. This made the flower "pop" off the paper.
Making white space "pop" by adding dark behind it for drama.
But here is the funny story that made me laugh as I was painting. When I held my workshops in USA on my recent tour I described how I paint as if I am jumping in a car with my husband and heading to a destination. My husband is the kind of man who has the map, knows where he wants to go and will get there by the quickest route. Not me! I get distracted. So if something beautiful leads me in another direction off I go. We were driving along the coast of California and knew what time we were aiming to reach our hotel that night. I saw a sign directing the way to see seals and wanted to go there instead, which incidentally we did. And it was fun and it lightened the long drive. But that's me. I love having fun in my life and in my art.
So I may have started this painting thinking it would be two and a half flowers. But something far better happened along the way as the painting developed and as I had no preliminary sketch to follow or be restricted by I was able to take a more fun route!
I have allowed more Christmas roses to appear in the background. Now there is a whole bunch of them. I actually worked around whites in my barckground that were there by accident. Little triangles of white paper acted as petals turning over at the tips.
More flowers appearing in the painting. In a free flowing composition.
I looked at this painting at this stage then wandered around my garden again as my dog Bailey needed a little break. I noticed the gorgeous ivy on one cottage wall and how it was shining in the light and realised my white flowers would look lovely nestling in a bouquet with dark dramatic greens as a backdrop. And so I added a mix of greens and blues behind my flowers. I now have easy places to add leaf outlines in my next colour additions.
Dark background added which will be ivy in the next stage of my painting.
Part of me feels I could add clusters of dark ivy berries or even holly berries or leaves to make this feel like a Christmas card design. I have so many options to choose from in where I am heading next with this piece. I could even turn this into white clematis if I chose too. That is another idea!
But the whole point of my journey in my painting is that I don't know where I am heading. I have no map. I am just simply enjoying what happens as it happens and being guided by colour and shape which is pleasing to my eye.
I write about this constantly in my books and I share my way of working on my workshops.
My main passion is that painting in watercolour is magical. I always reccomend letting it lead you rather than you lead it, and you will have a ball painting if you do.
But on another note, you can imagine I am a nightmare to be with in a car if you need to get somewhere in a rush!