I am trying to do a bit more sketching so this afternoon I decide to sketch the hollyhocks in my garden... they are huge and a sort of creamy colour with pink centres. Anyway I have never managed to produce a cream colour in watercolour and decided the white of the paper would be quite close so worked with that.
My plan was to actually do some botanical studies so that I could begin to learn the shape for when I would paint in my own style. I find that if you know and understand the shape of the flower you want to paint you can then get a sort of template in your mind, which is a way of painting it that works for you. I have my template with flowers like roses (learned from the Jean Haines way of painting them), pinks and carnations, hydrangeas, daisies, daffodils, gerberas, snowdrops etc and what you have to do is find the essence which makes it that particular flower. So I was going to find it by doing a proper study.... yeah right!!!
I decided to start with one particular flower then forgot all my good intentions and the composition just seemed to grow and grow and before I knew it, I had filled a double page in my sketch book from top to bottom!!
Having said that I am really quite pleased with this as I love the colour combinations... all W&N, my lovely Turquoise, Permanent Rose and Green Gold. When you are painting white flowers, you don't need to keep all the flowers white in fact the painting won't work half as well as they will have a tendency to look stuck on to the bg. Though I drew this (don't forget I was meant to be doing a formal study as normally I don't draw flowers) I have still lost edges on the flower heads and leaves and this helps marry the flowers into the bg.
I started by adding the greens to the stems and leaves, losing quite a bit into the bg, and guiding the paint with water around the flower heads to keep them white. I also added the other colours to the bg and as the flower areas were dry the paint didn't flow (paint will only flow where it's wet.....you need the water to transport it) so the flowers in the main stayed white though I did wet small areas to allow some of the paint to flow in especially on the bottom sides.
Once you have reached this stage it is simply a matter of building up the bg, painting negatively and positively around the piece until it is time to step back and see if it's finished. This piece is approx 4x8 so not a normal size for me but I will use what I've learned from this to do a bigger painting and probably keep to the same colour scheme... let me know what you think!!