With winter on my doorstep I am already missing my garden with baskets and planters full of flowers. Oh all those brilliant colours and delicate petals dancing in the breeze, changing daily as they mature and grow. It motivates me to want to recreate those summertime colours and movement in a painting where I can have fun and lay on the colours.
Although not actually one of my outdoor plants I chose to paint Calla Lilies due to their dramatic trumpet like shape and long finger-like spadex in the centre. I took creative license and decided I would go colour crazy to embellish them in a myriad of watercolour hues.
I initially simplify my flowers and leaves into attractive shapes and then lightly draw them onto my watercolour paper with pencil. Then I freehand my swooping ‘movement’ lines across the image of the flowers, careful to avoid ending a line at a corner. These lines help to divide up the image in interesting ways and adds a flowing feel. Then I wet the whole surface of my paper and drop in puddles of permanent rose, aureolin yellow and touches of cobalt blue. I let these colours mix and mingle on the paper as I tip it to encourage their interaction and to help the paint to flow around.
I let these soft background colours completely dry and then start to work in small areas of my painting delineated by all my intersecting lines. This process is almost meditative for me, mixing colours and layering them over previous colours to create new ones. All the additional colours are made from various mixtures of those three original primary colours that I used for the background. The watercolours I am using are transparent so each succeeding layer reveals the colours underneath. The layering process not only increases the clarity of the image but impacts the depth of colour too becoming more vivid. The end result seems etherial and has the organic quality I was aiming for.