Friday, 28 March 2014

The Simple Things in Life : Muscari in Watercolour

 Muscari studies on my easel
( Muscari flowers, also known as grape hyacinth) 

Near my studio there are wonderful clusters of grape hyacinth growing. Beautiful blue flowers sit around and under the yellows of taller daffodils in bloom. The colour combination is  magical. So of course each time I look out of my window I see them and naturally I want to paint them.

I have a painting that was included in my first book which I look at each Spring. I loved the mystical effect of the grape hyacinth flowers appearing from an old vintage jug that I own. I had created a still life and loved working peacefully on it. This old, original painting is on smooth Bockingford paper 140lbs. which is perfect for floral work and studies. Bockingford is a beautiful ,almost white paper that seems to make my work stand out more. Adding a dimension of light and a feeling of freshness.

The paper we use is so important to our results.

Here is a close up of the muscari in the painting from my book "How to Paint Colour and Light in Watercolour "

Spring Flowers painted on Bockingford 140lbs paper

I painted a small study of grape hyacinths on a scrap of  rough texture paper today, to highlight the difference in results. I have had to use different techniques as the surface of the textured paper doesn't allow me to lift the lighter sections of the muscari bell formations well. And pigment getting trapped in the pockets of the rough surface  held back my goal of silky petal effects.

Muscari on rough surface paper.

Paper we use in watercolour is a very personal choice but for florals I often opt for Bockingford or Saunders Waterford paper. A good weight but smooth surface.

For now I am going to get back painting and enjoying the Spring flowers whilst they last which isn't long. Spring, a season that we all eagerly wait for seems to disappear in the wink of  an eye so we must enjoy it while we can!

You can purchase my first book via this link

Artist Tip: Do vary the watercolour paper you use. You can achieve great things just by experimenting on paper surfaces and weights. Often the wrong paper holds an artist back more than their skill at painting!

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