Monday 28 March 2016

Using Small Studies : Daffodils in Watercolour

 Painting a bouquet of Spring Daffodils from ideas gained by study work

I thought it would be interesting to show how I use the small studies of individual flowers in a larger painting. Sometimes we can learn so much more from seeing a painting develop than by looking at a finished result.

I have a bouquet of daffodils from my garden in my studio. Today I painted two individually to help me discover the right colours to use and learn how they connected petal by petal.

Having started a painting with just flower centres, from observing where each bloom sat in the bouquet in front of my easel, I next added the two side flowers which faced outwards from the vase. These trumpet shapes were far easier to paint now as I have spent a little time today painting them alone.

Single daffodil study

 Interestingly the bouquet I am looking at has mainly yellow daffodils with only a few white narcissus. But my painting so far looks so lovely with white flowers in between the yellow daffodils that I may opt to make an artistic decision and leave them white rather than painting exactly what I am seeing.

The daffodil bouquet in my studio

These painting decisions lead to unique and unpredictable results. It is like jumping in a car and heading to London only to realise half way there that Paris may be a far more exciting destination and choosing that option instead.

You can see how I have used the single daffodil study to learn how the daffodil would look in a full painting below.

 Learning from my study and placing a similar subject in a main painting

Artists Tips

1) Practise painting small studies of subjects first to add to full paintings later with confidence. 

2) Never be dictated to by what you see. If a painting leads you to a different idea which looks better, go for it instead!

3) Take your time. Don't race a painting. Enjoy each stage in its' journey as that will lead you to much better paintings in the future.


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