Daffodils in watercolour
Work in progress
Daffodils are hard to paint so many people have told me but I love painting them. Maybe its' because I am from Wales and they are the Welsh National Flower. I grew up surrounded by them every spring and their gorgeous bright yellow hues would always make me feel instantly cheerful. But going back to those dreaded words.
"Hard to paint"
Isn't everything hard to paint when we first take up painting? Especially as adults. Ask a child to paint anything and it never occurs to them that they can't, they just do it and love creating. We need to completely lose the fear of approaching new subjects. In fact I strongly believe that painting subjects that we do find difficult , often and regularly, improves our skill as artists. And so what if your painting goes in the bin ( trash can to my American friends!) . It is only by attempting a difficult task that the task in hand can be overcome and seen as being easier. The more you practise the less daunting the task becomes. In fact, over time, it can become something that no longer holds fear.
I love a challenge. I love painting things that are new to me and I love painting things that I am familiar with. Like daffodils. I paint them every year but each time I do I attempt to improve on the ones I painted the year before. I am on a journey in art, learning and loving the road every step of the way.
So here I am in 2019 painting my first daffodils of the year and I am so happy. I am aiming to keep the petals papery thin and delicate.
Here are two paintings as works in progress side by side on my easel.
Two daffodil paintings, each guiding me on what to add next on the other..
I usually work in threes, as in three paintings being on the go at any one time. I find I learn from each. Above the painting on the right was my first daffodil piece, the second seen on the left to me is far better. I can see it needs detail but the start is softer because I was more relaxed on the second piece having got into the " mood" or quiet painting zone from warming up on the first painting. This happens. I often need to get my mind calm to really create something beautiful and with such a busy life sometimes I need to get everything out of my system on the first piece to really get stuck into my work.
I'm finding Daniel Smith Azo Yellow perfect as a shade for painting these spring flowers. It is'vibrant, can be used translucently and looks gorgeous in sunlight too, just like the real flowers.
Seen below is a close up of one of the daffodils with detail beginning to be added.
Single daffodil with detail added
1) Never be put off painting a subject, new challenges stretch us and improve our observation and painting skills.
2) Try painting a rough study for fun before attempting a more serious piece as this helps us get into a great quiet painting zone.
3) Do enjoy each season looking for subjects that may only be temporarily available to paint from life
4) Paint from life as much as possible! I see blues, violets and golds in each petal when I study a real daffodil flower and yet when I look quickly at them I only see bright yellow!
Have fun, relax and enjoy painting. Otherwise your painting time can become stressful which to me defeats the whole point of painting!