Sunday, 28 May 2017

Honeysuckle :' Mandarin'

With all the lovely sun and heat, the honeysuckle over one of my arches is in full flower. A beautiful plant that I am so glad I bought. It has grown quickly and over three years has produced masses of these vibrant orange/ yellow flowers. It seemed like time to have a go at capturing it on paper.

I had no idea that it was such a complex shape. I suppose that sometimes I take the flower shapes for granted in the garden, but this was a wake-up call to look more closely from time to time!!

Faced with a couple of stems with flowers and leaves, I thought this might be a bit beyond me.
I decided, therefore to only draw one flower at a time and to paint it before attacking the next flower. I know that compositionally, this was a bad decision, but I knew that the full drawing would take ages, and when painting started, I could ruin it in the first five minutes and the prep work would all be wasted

I worked on Fabriano Artistico Extra White paper and carefully but faintly drew one flower and leaf and then painted them with mostly Indian Yellow, Transluscent Orange and Serpentine Green.
I used Green Gold, Serpentine Green and Apatite Green Genuine for the leaves.I then moved onto the next flower and did the same.

I masked out the stamens with Pebeo drawing gum. I like this make, as it is blue in colour so you can see what you are doing  and seems to remove easily if left on for a couple of days on this type of paper.

By the time I began painting the third flower, I was already beginning to fret anxiously about the background. Although it seems easy, it is often very difficult to know how to approach it, and what colours to use. Sometimes it needs to be dark to throw the flowers forward and sometimes very pale to match the delicacy of the blooms.

I added the last of the stamens and another leaf in the lower area of the painting, and spent time thinking about the next stage. Because I paint flowers so often, it should be easy to know what to do next, but I find it incredibly difficult as it is so easy at this stage to get it wrong.

I had added water to a couple of areas of background and dropped in a very light amount of the orange pigment. By keeping it light, more can be added later, but it can be difficult to remove if it is too dark.
So far so good.

In the end, I used a laundry spray to add water to the left hand and lower edges, protecting the flowers and leaves where possible, and simply dropped in areas of paint, pushing them very lightly over the left hand flower, being careful not to disturb the paint underneath..

I stopped at this point, afraid to go any further, although now that it has dried, I could have made the bottom left corner darker, I will leave well alone, although it will remain propped up in the studio for a couple of weeks just to see if I need to do any more.


  1. It's perfect. Thank you for sharing your beautiful artwork and thoughts.

    1. You are welcome and thanks for taking the time to comment.

  2. It surely is beautiful. I wish i had such mastery at any skill that i could exhibit to the world. But your work really inspires me. Thankyou for such wonderful posts.

  3. Thank you for the lovely comments. I am sure you will be able to do similar work if you keep painting. Good luck.

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