Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Burgandy poppies

As we move into May, it is becoming increasingly important that I accumulate some new paintings for the exhibition in Wells Cathedral. I owe it to them to try to produce my best possible work to create an interesting and varied display.
I dug out a resource photo of some stately 'Patty's Plum' poppies and a piece of 'Andalucia' paper from Hahnemuhle. It is a 500g rough paper, which does not readily buckle with lots of washes, and hopefully, once the painting is mounted and framed, it should not buckle within the frame. This will hopefully prevent last years problems when it was so damp and cold in the Cathedral. Several of the paintings buckled badly over the course of the 10 days

As usual with this sort of painting, I started with a reasonably detailed drawing of the flowers and leaves.

I painted each flowers with combinations of Quinachridone Magenta, Moonglow, Bordeaux and Anthraquinachridone Blue.

I have been trying to improve the contrasts of light within my paintings, so have been very careful about leaving white paper showing and creating darks as a contrast. As usual, I painted up to the pencil line and then erased it when dry. White top edges would be created by the background colour later in the painting if necessary.
As I went along, I included stems and a few leaves as this helped to see if the composition was going to be ok.
The flowers did seem a bit tightly painted, so I deliberately only half painted the tallest and the far right heads, to try to loosen up the picture.

Once all the flowers were complete, I painted in the leaves, using a variety of pale green washes, again leaving white tips to hopefully suggest sunlight, and darkened the undergrowth with Apatite Green Genuine

      When all the background was complete, I darkened one side of the stems and put in a few shadows and deepened the darks at the base of the poppy petals.
The photos look a bit pink, but the actual painting is a tad more burgundy than appears.
When all was complete, I made sure there were no pencil lines remaining, and it is now ready for mounting and framing.                                            


  1. I'm new to watercolor painting, just starting in fact, and I wanted to tell you that your blog is really inpiring...I'm a gardener too, so I'm looking forward to producing botanical paintings, even if they are a tenth as beautiful as yours... I wish there was somewhere in my city I could take lessons with a true painter, but there is not...Internet is a great thing! Congratulations and keep up the great work! Rosario, from Argentina.

    1. Thank you Rosario. I am really pleased you find the posts useful and I hope you enjoy just looking when I do not remember to take photos of each stage!! Happy painting.