Trying to make the most of my studio before it becomes the guest room for Christmas visitors, I was determined to paint one more painting before they arrived!
I have tried to grow these beautiful flowers several times, but they are plants which enjoy rocky terrain with good drainage, so my water-logged clay means that I have never succeeded, so I have painted from photos in gardening books!
The paper is my usual Fabriano Artistico Extra White 'Not' paper. Unfortunately it is a new block and has come detached from the cardboard backing, and when I returned from Art Group on Thursday the two sections had become completely separated. I must have put the block back in the cover the wrong way around without noticing, and it was not until I had done the initial wash and was two thirds through the drawing that I realised that I was working on the wrong side of the paper.
I am not sure how much difference this makes, although the texture is nicer on the right side, but I also noticed that the block is separating half way down, and when painting with fair amounts of water, the individual pages are lifting, which defeats the object of working on a block! Call me picky, but surely paper of that quality should be more fit for purpose than that.
I did think it was maybe just a one-off flaw, but when I consulted my painting pal, Jan said she was having exactly the same problem......not good enough in my opinion.
Anyway, enough of the moaning and on to the painting. I started by painting an initial wash using the predominant colours in the photos (I used several photos to give me various views of the flower heads) and then I lightly pencilled in the drawing.
I painted the flowers using various combinations of all my blues except indigo....Cobalt, Ultramarine,Anthaquinachridone, Teal and Pthalo.
I tried to keep some of the petals crisply defined, and some I tried to lose their edges. On the LH side the flower head was painted quite loosely as well.
It wasn't a very long task as I wanted to keep everything quite light, so there was no need to darken the background, which can take some time when you have to paint around all the petals and stems, or add too much foliage, which I tried to keep very low key. The stamens were added using white Acrylic Gouache and cadmium orange and yellow.
I did find the finished result a bit 'cold' so I carefully added the lightest touch of Quinachridone Magenta to the tips of a number of the petals and some of the same colour into the darkest areas to add a little warmth to the painting.
'Meconopsis' 26cm x 36cm
Now that I look at it on screen, I think I do need to graduate out a little, the dark areas that I have painted behind the top two flowers, or maybe I will just lighten the existing dark patches with a little water and kitchen towel.