Monday, 15 October 2012


Because of the lack of sun this summer, the nasturtiums are now in full flower, when in fact they should be just about over. This has meant unexpected colour at this time of year. I have had the added bonus of plants without blackfly! We have a subject 'Pots, Vases and Flowers coming up at AVA, so I thought that I might do a slightly larger painting and take the opportunity to use up some single sheets of Whatman Paper that was sitting around in the cupboard. The sheet I chose is 'rough' and the piece of paper measures approx. 60 x 40 cm. Because it was a loose sheet, and 300gms, I decided to stretch it onto a board, as I was not sure how wet-in-wet it would be.

I did the drawing ready for the next club meeting, as I wanted to start the actual painting during the session and not spend the whole 2 hours drawing. I also wanted to live with the drawing propped up in the studio for a couple of days to make sure the composition was ok.

The best laid plans.......! The following day I could not resist adding a bit of paint here and there, and before I really knew what was happening, I had gone too far to take the painting to AVA to finish. It has been fairly compulsive right through to the end, and I have thoroughly enjoyed doing it.

I chose to paint the flowers etc first with the intention of adding a fairly strong background down the LH side and in the LH top corner, overpainting the flowers and pot to give some lost and semi lost edges. I used the remaining scraps of Schminke Transparent Orange donated by Peter, and added a mixture of Graham's Hansa Yellow and Daniel Smiths's Quinachridone Coral. For the leaves I used  Apatite Green with added Cadmium Yellow.

The background is painted using combinations of the colours already used in the flowers and leaves with a bit of added Indigo. I tried to leave some white spaces to give a bit of variety and light to the background. At this stage, I felt it was going quite well, and I had invested some time in getting this far, and I will admit at this stage to being quite anxious about continuing. There was still plenty to do and therefore plenty of opportunity to spoil the painting. I am not sure where the anxiety came from. It is some time since I felt like this about a painting!!

I made a conscious decision to slow down, and just paint small bits at a time, and to think through carefully what I was going to do at each stage. It was really enjoyable to see the painting develop slowly but surely, and although I am going to live with it for a few days before mounting and framing - just in case I feel it needs a tweak here and there - I think it is finished and its time to stop! I am really pleased with it, and although I try not to think about the Wells exhibition next year, I cannot help feeling that this painting might be a contender to be my 'signature' painting for posters, invitations etc. We will see, there is lots of time to paint somethings else which might fit the bill!

'Nasturtiums'   Watercolour  50 x 36 cms

Just as a small finishing comment, I had to alter the RH side of the jug after having painted the background to identify the jug's shape. I was able to use some clean water and a stiffish brush to lift out the paint and re-position it. I am sure that I would have been unable to do that, had I been using the 'Leonardo' paper.

All that remains now is to stretch another piece of paper and get the drawing done for the AVA session!

Ps........I did eventually tweak it a bit. The leaf behind the white jug seemed a bit odd, so I wet it lightly and removed the dark shadow line, and I added a little more dark on the copper pot behind this leaf to help with recession, being careful to keep the suggestion of a reflection of the jug handle. It is now definitely finished and in a frame.


  1. Thanks Peter, lots due to your generosity with the transluscent Orange

  2. An interesting composition, you seem to be developing a style whereby you create strength on the left of your pictures, or have I just become sensitive to it since a comment of yours on a previous post. I find this another enjoyable piece. Keep raiding Peter's over laden paint store, I sometimes think he is a South Western outpost of Jackson's.

  3. Thanks Mick. I think compositional decisions go in circles. Something works well so you try it again and then use it several times. At one stage my lightest parts were in the top LH corner. Won't hear a thing against Peter, he is constantly generous with his products!

  4. Gorgeous painting, love this flower, and you kept the light beautifully.

  5. Thanks Jane for your comments. So easy to grow, and so abundant, but each flower is a gem! I am glad they grow easily in my garden.

  6. These are incredibly beautiful. I can't stop looking at them.

  7. Thank you. I am delighted that you love them