Making a real effort, I wandered all the back lanes around our house and was pleased to find lots of them scattered in reasonably large clumps, to enable me to pick some without spoiling the hedgerows for others to enjoy. I took them home pretty speedily to get them into water, as they do not last long once picked.
I popped them into a pint mug so that they produced a tight mass, and I took lots of photos for reference in case they fell before I could finish the painting
I wanted the finished group of flowers to fill the page from side to side, so I turned my paper to portrait format and decided to do a fairly detailed drawing before putting on the initial wash. My main reason for doing this was to enable me to see where the yellow and green pigments should go to keep the colours as fresh as possible with only minor overlapping.
I felt the subject needed to have a bit more in the painting, so I added a pot and a couple of lemon pieces. I did not add anything too distracting and kept top objects with quite muted colours, as my intention was to create a very fresh, light, springtime painting.
So, after the drawing, I washed the surface using Indian Yellow, Cadmium Yellow and Apatite Green Genuine to give me my background colours. I was aware that by putting a wash over the pencil drawing, I would be stuck with quite a lot of the pencil lines on the finished painting.
Once the wash was dry, it was just a case of building up the painting, both flowers and background so that I could keep an eye on how it was developing. I found it really difficult to re-create the lovely glow one gets with buttercups, but I did my best, and tried to keep the whole thing gentle and muted.
I really loved the painting at this stage and would have liked to stop, but there were too many flowers pencilled in for it to look properly finished, so I felt I had to continue. I tried to be really light-handed with the pigment and the brush strokes and I splattered the final painting a little to loosen up the finished image.I spent ages trying to decide on the colour of the thin stripes in the cloth. I knew that I needed some colour, but did not want it to distract from the flowers. Isn't it strange how sometimes the small details can give us such a hard time. In the end I used a very pale transluscent orange.As a final act before the splatter, I tried to remove as much of the pencil drawing as possible by lightly going over the surface with a soft clean eraser.
I think it is quite liked I hoped it would be!
Fabriano Artistico Extra White Rough
35cm x 50cm