Saturday, 3 May 2014

Cherry Blossom

At Avon Valley Artist's group this week, there was no specific subject. The programme had kept a blank space for members to finish any half painted work from previous weeks. As I always finish anything with potential, I had a completely free choice of what to paint.
The cherry blossom had been particularly spectacular again this year, so I used a photo to have another go at it. The flowers fade so quickly when cut, it seems a pity to bring it indoors, so I nearly always use a photo, as it is too cold in my north facing garden to sit and paint outdoors this early in the season.

I put on an initial  wash onto a piece of 300gm paper, placing it where I thought the flowers would go, using Opera Rose and Quinachridone Magenta. (The paper on the RH side was left white, and the blue colour comes, I think, from shadows in the room when I took the photograph!)

When I was satisfied with the wash and it had completely dried, I added my drawing. By doing this on top of the wash it enables me to remove the pencil lines as I proceed. It does mean however, that I need to give careful thought to the placing of the original wash.

I started the painting by using stronger Quinachridone Magenta and various mixes of greens and golds to paint the negative background shapes around the flowers, being careful not to go over the pencil lines if I wanted to remove them. When I could see how the composition was progressing, I painted in the blossoms using lots more Pink, Magenta and Moonglow to give the petals form. I left quite a bit of the flowers white for the highlights, but was able to adjust this with White Acrylic Gouache. I also used this to wash out some of the edges of the petals to give the painting a bit more freedom.

As the flowers began to take shape, I started adding colour to the background, painting negative shapes to produce distant leaves and petals. The milky effect is created by dropping White Gouache into wet washes of Magenta, Indigo, Nickel Quinachridone and Apatite Green Genuine. I added some granulating fluid to produce some texture.

I finished painting the blossom, added the supporting branches and strengthened the background being careful to leave the RH side much lighter than the LH side. The final photograph is again a bit darker than the reality, not helped by the fact that the photo was taken after I had framed it. I added more White Acrylic Gouache to the edges of lots of the petals and washed the LH side of some of the blossoms with Moonglow to create shadows. Finally, as always, a good splatter of White Gouache to complete the painting.

                                             'Cherry Blossom'   36cm x 26cm Watercolour
                                                       on Fabriano Artistico Extra White


  1. thank you dabeauli for such a lovely comment and welcome to my blog spot. I hope you continue to find things to interest you on it.

  2. This is Beautiful - love it :-)

  3. Thanks a lot, Ann. I quite like it too. Makes me feel as if I am at last getting back to normal after my illness. Great feeling.

  4. Replies
    1. Thank you for posting such a lovely comment and welcome to my blog.

  5. Absolutely stunning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Gosh, Polly! So many exclamation marks. Glad you really like it. Thanks for taking the time to post a comment.

  6. Replies
    1. Thanks Peter. I quite like the half way point as well. Maybe I should have just finished the flowers and left the background as it was. What do you think?

  7. I think I prefer that one at the half way point. The finished work is very good but I prefer the `watery' effect which is gone from the finished painting, good as it is.

  8. Think I agree with you Peter.

  9. Hello Yvonne, you've really captured the prettiness of the blossoms.
    Also, I do appreciate all the detail you include in your posts about your techniques of painting. For instance, I can see the difference that adding more white (gouche) at the ends of the petals makes. Thank you :D)

  10. Thank you for the lovely comment and glad you can make use of any of the little things I have learnt from others over the years. Its great to share. Happy painting.

  11. Stunningly beautiful.
    You paint exactly how I love to paint, but yours is much more successfully done.
    I am drawing such inspiration from your work.