Monday 18 July 2011

Painting From Life: Sweet Pea in Watercolour

Painting From Life
And learning from it too!

Sweet Pea Flowers developing from a first wash in watercolour

I have had the most glorious of weekends. On Saturday despite the  weather which was extremely wet we went to the local horticultural show. I have heard so much about this event and as friends and neighbours were entering I eagerly arrived to see the awards for the various different categories in the show.

It was amazing.  Set in the grounds around a huge marquee were wonderful stalls selling cakes and plants etc to raise funds for a number of charities. As with all villages there are the regular people who always attend and new comers. As new arrivals to the community this was our first year at what has become a well respected highlight of the year.

I wandered around the vegetable section and was amazed at the display of carrots,beetroots,onions and broad beans to name but a few catagories.The aim is for each entrant to show three vegetables of exactly the same size, quality and shape. Looking at the many rosettes awarded it was evident that there were indeed some very serious vegetable growers in the village. Coveted prizes were sought after but somehow I don't feel I will be racing to submit my three carrots or beetroots next year. They would reach our table long before they made it to the marquee!.

However my head was turned the minute I saw the flower arrangements and displays. They were stunning. I loved them all but amongst the line up was a fabulous collection of sweet pea.Their scent filled the air and it has been impossible to think of anything else until I could capture them in watercolour.

Misty illusions in watercolour of soft gentle blooms 
And a flower from my garden.

I picked a few  flowers from my own garden and this morning as part of my warm up art exercises painted a few sprigs, just to collect and calm my thoughts from the hectic few weeks that have just passed. I looked at the sweet flowers in the small glass vase I was working from and smiled. My flowers are not all the same size, not all the same colour and definitely not show standard. But I love them. Maybe I adore them so much because they are most definitely not perfect!

When I paint them, my flowers will be varied in size, arrangement and colour.This is how I work as I enjoy searching for the unusual way to compose a painting rather than the expected.

Sweet Pea flower coming to life in a watercolour painting.

There are times in life when we do have to follow rules as in a horticultural show.
How wonderful though to work with watercolour and in a way that throws all rules out of the window. I don't have to paint blue skies, or perfect washes and obviously accepted compositions,those that are tried and true.

But how brilliant to see how others enjoy life and understand their passion. It is this emotion that keeps our hearts young and our lives so rich.

How lucky we are!




love the bottom one jean so delicate i like the fine details of the tendrils.. you garden looks a picture ..painting veg here ! ciao j

Jean Haines SWA, SFP said...

Hi there Jane! It's great to see you here. Thank you for such a lovely reply, I have been fascinated with sweet pea all summer but now my friends are showing vegetables to me in gorgeous shapes my imagination is running to them.Imagine painting gorgeous aubergine, or fresh lettuce with fabulous veins?

Oh no,will I EVER run out of ideas of things to work on in watercolour!!!!!

This is one addiction I adore having,I will look at your veggies Jane,I am sure they are amazing,