Foxgloves appearing in a first wash next to the real flower
Nothing can compare to learning from nature.Sitting in the solitude of an English garden on a warm summers day listening to birdsong and placing your focus on flowers searching for colour variations and the play of light on each petal is so relaxing and very rewarding.
I am aware that the foxgloves in my garden are now getting past their best from the beauty of the last few weeks where they have put on such a glorious display. Towering in tall spikes above the other smaller plants they have created such regal impact especially when in full sun. And so I sat quietly working on two large pieces of paper allowing colour to fall where it would in my first wash but at the same time carefully placing drops of pigment to encourage the bell forms.
Nothing can top watching a shot of Cadmiun Orange allowed to just burst onto a wet wash. As it hits the paper it appears to bossily push the other pigments out of the way. I can almost see the transparent Alizarin Crimson making way for the heavy opaque that takes over with force at first always looking frightening when wet until it drys to a softer glowing shade of orange.
I will confess, I am thrilled with this first wash. My "ghosts" as I call them of the individual flowers are already exciting. I need to do very little to complete this piece and it will be a favourite because of how it is flowing so beautifully in its development.
Foxglove bells appearing in a beautifully exciting first wash.
I mentioned I started two paintings at the same time. The one above is intended to be louder in colour , more vibrant and more exciting. The second seen below is intended to capture the more delicate side of this flower. A subtle pink wash with hints of the yellow buds to create a quieter result which I can relax with whilst escaping the heady passion of the first painting.
Second Foxglove painting in delicate pink from heavily diluted Alizarin Crimson.
Tip: When we paint from life our senses are more receptive to possibilities than when we work from photographs. We see colour in its most truest form, we see shape as it really is minus distortion from a flat image and we feel life in the subject. All this knowledge then transfers easily to our painting. I can only paint from photographs successfully if I have genuinely seen the subject, taken the photograph myself or have painted from life many times in between doing so. The images here reflect the difference in colour from painting in sunlight in my garden. The moral of this story is to paint from life as much as possible!