Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Clematis

Time is slipping away towards the Annual Exhibition in Wells Cathedral. Although I will not be on my own this year, I still need lots of paintings. There is only 4 months left and as I work almost full time during May, it seemed time to take stock.
Making a reasonably accurate list of what is ready mounted and framed, I was really surprised to see that I had neither Clematis nor White Anemone Japonicas. As these are the two most prolific flowers in my garden, and I am always painting them,  I am not sure how this has come about. It seemed as good a time as any to rectify this.


I started with the usual wash, with pinks and purples in the centre and green/blues around the outer edges. I tried to leave a fair amount of white, but the paint does tend to spread everywhere, so there was very little white, but at least some very pale passages. I then drew out the composition with three flower heads and 3 buds. At this stage I ignored the leaves as they could be added later. Then in my usual way, I started to paint the darks in the centre behind the flowers.


Almost immediately, I stopped as I realised that if I continued like this, the painting might end up a lot less delicate than I intended. I really liked the colours in the wash, and did not want them all to disappear into a dark background, I watered over the greens and gently blotted them away to half their strength, so that I could leave the pale green, or add lilac to them at the end.

At this stage, therefore I proceeded straight to the flowers, trying where possible to allow parts of some of the petals to blend into the background in places where the background colour allowed this to happen.



I used lots of Ultramarine Violet and Quinachridone Magenta for the petals, together with White Acrylic Gouache for the highlights and a mixture of Ultramarine Violet and Moonglow for the shadows. In the photo below you can see how much lighter the central greens have become. I also painted in the buds, and used the wrong end of a fine paintbrush to make marks in the paper into which the paint ran to give the markings on them.
I painted the third Clematis a slightly darker colour, where it was hidden under the second one and again used  Violet and Moonglow for the shadows.

I was eager to see how everything was progressing, so I removed the masking fluid from the stamens on the LH flower and painted them in using gouache and the shadow mixture. This was a mistake, as I later found that I needed to darken the background at the heart of the flowers and watercolour does not sit easily on top of gouache and it was the devils own job to paint between the lines. I need to aquire more patience!




I finished painting the flowers and buds and added a few leaves where necessary. When it came to tackling the background, I wanted the painting to remain as delicate as possible, so I added a little lilac to the central original darks and made up a plale greenish grey wash which I could gradually fade out to the lovely colours in the original wash. I darkened all the corners except the RH top, and then all that remained was finish the remaining two centres,  adjust some of the highlights with more gouache and give the painting a light splatter to loosen it up a little.


'Lilac Clematis'
Watercolour on Fabriano Artistico Extra White
300gm rough
Approx.  40cm x 30cm

18 comments:

  1. Such a lovely result, I particularly like the top rh flower and hoe it fades into the bg

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    1. Thanks Lorraine. I m glad the 'lost edges' works well.

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    1. Thanks Polly. I am glad you enjoy the posts

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  3. Hi Yvonne,

    Fantastic!!!
    Who can paint like you? It is absolutely beautiful.
    Thank you for sharing.

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    1. What a lovely comment. I have just joined your followers and am flattered that someone who paints as well as you should so enjoy looking at my paintings. Thank you.

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  4. A very beautiful painting Yvonne! (I love your background)

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  5. Thank you, Laura. I love doing the background washes. You never quite know how they will turn out.

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  6. And they say you can't make adjustments to watercolour washes once they've been laid. Well you certainly give the lie to that. Interesting to read about your difficulties with early use of gouache, that points us in the direction of leaving it till last. Another great post, full of good advice and a beautiful image that will fill one of the gaps in your exhibition portfolio.
    .

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    1. Thanks for the comments Mick. I take very little notice of the 'can't do' theories until I have tried them myself. I may not always be a traditionalist, but I hope some of my painting is exciting and there is always lots to learn.

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  7. Further to our Thursday discussion, this is one you have got to put in a frame for the exhibition; it's lovely!

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  8. Thanks Jan. Yes, I always intended to find a frame for this one. Glad you like it. Will also think about putting this design into the box of cards.

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  9. Lovely painting as always but I do like it when you chance your arm and show your the potential with other subjects.

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  10. Am I becoming boring Peter {joke of course). I do post everything including the AVA work which is often different. I will post the 'Rooftops and Chimnies' when I get it finished.
    Anyway I am pleased you like the painting.

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  11. Very beautiful painting n very nicely done

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    1. Thank you for the lovely comment Nalini

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  12. Have seen some more of your lovely paintings - great work!!!!!

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    1. Thank you. I hope you continue to enjoy the blogs.

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