Monday, 7 June 2010

Lupin in Watercolour: Experimental Wash

 Lupin Appearing in an Experimental Wash.

Having a cottage garden really is a huge asset to an artist especially this one!  Each day I see wonderful shapes and vibrant colour that tempt me to pick up my brush. I am constantly feeling the thrilling urge to capture new subjects in completely different ways. As always light is the most important factor to me so when sunlight hit this particular plant I just had to play with an idea in my mind. I want to try to make the flower seem as though it is literally jumping off my paper at me singing with glorious highlights and a sense of being very delicate.

Lupins have a complex formation of  tiny petals forming one tall bloom. In my workshops I often use the word "Simplify" so I find myself looking at how to do just that in each study of these beautiful flowers. But there is a need to identify the complicated formation as the tiny individual petals tell a story which is so vital to the final composition.

Starting at the top which really was in strong sunlight I used  my W&N No. 10 sable brush and made marks for each  tiny bud.
  Brush marks making each bud appear.
A technique from my Shanghainese mentor of having the brush loaded with two pigments worked well here.

Next I gradually worked down the flower stem adding individual  petals.

Lupin petals forming around the stem.

I have kept my colours very light and transparent in places to capture the feeling of a gentle flower that is soft to touch.

Finally here is one lupin from the flower bed. This image really does demonstrate how painting from a photograph is so different to painting from life. If you look at how flat the image looks to my painting which is full of light and life this becomes a very good example of why working from real subjects is so much more effective.
Lupin Photograph. 
Note the dark background and how it kills the subject. In reality this flower stood among many others which is the reason I have used pinks  for my own composition to enhance my focal point in the foreground.

Tip: An artist once suggested trying to guess which artists paint from life and  those who always paint from photographs when walking around an exhibition. Doing so has taught me so much about my own journey in watercolour. I prefer to paint from life!

If you have time I suggest finding one flower today and a few minutes to capture it on paper or  simply just enjoy it by studying its form, seeing how each petal interacts with the others and while doing so close your mind to any worries of the day.

Let go, relax and smile.



Ady said...

Beautiful, Jean! I love the idea of loading two pigments on the same brush! Genius!

Jean Haines SWA, SFP said...

Thank you Ady, it is a Chinese tip I learned when studying in Asia. Very useful with Chinese painting for Chrysanthemums and cherry blossom. There is a trick to the loading but if you get it right the result is fantastic!

Cheryl said...

tried it Jean and it is great fun to see what can be created.Thank you so much for sharing again all your wonderful ways of seeing and creating.It is such a pleasure and a real treat to be able to be part of your world.

Jean Haines SWA, SFP said...

Hello Cheryl, it was wonderful meeting you last week and now its wonderful to be able to hear you speaking when I see your typed replies! I wish you a fantastic week ahead and hope all you rpaintings bring you joy and a smile! Its lovely knowing you are here:)


this is delightful jean ..yet to experiment with loading different colours i treated myself to a chinese painting book when i ordered your new book..cthat's wonderful news on your the 2nd book CONGRATULATIONS !