Slower, richer…

watercolor, 24" x 18"

watercolor, 24″ x 18″

I had thought that the essence of a good watercolor was for it to be executed quickly, with confident and deft strokes, allowing spontaneity to be the defining characteristic, but I am learning that a piece can be executed slowly, taking time to get a feeling for what is emerging, and following that. This one has been propped up in my living space for a few days, and I’m seeing what else it needs, so it’s not quite finished, but almost. It is also inspiring me to develop it much larger, in oils.

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Petrea Profusion

14" x 20" watercolor

14″ x 20″ watercolor

Overnight the Petrea bloomed, a profusion of purple blossoms. Never before has the one in my garden been so abundant, but it is only a few years old so I guess it needs to mature to be at its best, like many of us…

It doesn’t last long, so on Saturday I spent an idyllic day painting in front of it, sharing the space with the bees who were going mad for it, burrowing into blossom after blossom – what a lovely life they lead. It wasn’t too hot, as it’s an overcast weekend, and I could sit in the shade somewhat, so it was perfect.

14" x 20" watercolor

14″ x 20″ watercolor

Today, Sunday, I brought a branch onto the veranda and coupled it with a white ginger flower, as I’m learning that an element of white in watercolor is of great importance. I also wanted to get up close to try and catch the lacy delicacy of these flowers. The garden was once again blessed with a gentle but soaking rain shower. I do believe it’s Heaven to be all alone in a garden, painting the beauty that Nature constantly and abundantly offers us, in total quiet other than the sounds of rain and birds and humming insects….

On to Oils

Begun as a diptych and then continued as two separate pieces, the bougainvillea are a source of much inspiration.

initial sketches in oil

initial sketches in oil

They are so light, so profuse, so varied in color and form, and artistically more interesting close up than from a distance, though what a statement they make, blazing hot pinks, a range of reds, vibrant oranges and illuminated whites in masses and mounds over walls, trees, gateposts and sidewalks – wherever you go here in Kingston, bougainvilleas are always close at hand.

Take 1

Take 1

Still unfinished, this one is dry now and ready for some further working….but not too much. Not sure what to do and what will happen as yet…

Take 2

Take 2

This one is an attempt to keep a minimal palette – and I fear it has lost some of the initial punch it had, which happens a lot, but on the other hand some interesting areas are emerging. Will post the final piece in time.

 

Easter Mantra: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again….

I must have done a dozen watercolors with Bouganvillea flowers as my subject since my last post, and still I haven’t reached the effect I want.

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The sketches are to help forge a direction for development in oils, but I would like them to be successful as watercolors in themselves, and that is becoming increasingly challenging.

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Trawling the internet for good examples of flowers in watercolor, paintings that understand the technique of the medium, and are fluid and spontaneous, exciting and look effortless, has been fruitless. Is it really that difficult that no one is doing it? It can’t be so…

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I think I need to minimize my palette. I also need to use a timer so I don’t keep working and working in a medium that is best when executed quickly. And maybe give it a break, leave the breezy veranda and go off to the studio to try these flowers in oils…

It’s not the flowers I want to portray but rather a feeling of femininity….

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