Thursday, 12 March 2015


There has been a bit of a thing going this month with Snowdrops!  When the subject at Avon Valley Artists was 'Moody Blues' I painted the  delphiniums shown in the previous post. One of the other members of the group painted a snowdrop from the picture below, which I think appeared in an issue of Gardens Illustrated magazine. She was not very happy with the result and asked if I would like to borrow the picture and have a go myself.

I used some 450gm Cornwall Matt paper, knowing that the background was going to need lots of washes. I did a simple pencil drawing, and applied a border of masking fluid around the edge of the flower. This way, I did not need to be too careful about the washes as the edge of the flower was protected. I used combinations of Apatite Green Genuine, Indigo, Ultramarine Blue, Winsor Green, Teal Blue, Indian Yellow and Quinachridone Pink to create the background. I  put on the washes, being careful not to go over the same place twice, adding one colour at a time and allowing it to dry thoroughly. The edge of each wash was mopped and dried with tissue so that there was no hard edge of any colour and the colours all looked as if they has merged naturally.
I then painted in the single snowdrop and stems, trying to create a lost edge on the LH side. The added dark ink seems a bit harsh, but in the actual painting, there is no solid line where the extra colour meets the original washes. 

When the painting was complete, I realised that I rarely painted snowdrops in the past, but the little clump in the garden has spread a bit and I was able to pick a couple to bring indoors. They have such a short season, so I also used some garden magazine photos, to give me a variety of growing positions.
I wanted this painting to be a delicate clump, so I did a careful pencil drawing, which I would remove as usual as the painting progressed.
I started by painting the central darks around the stems and then worked out from the middle

I had chosen to paint the variety with dark green markings on the petals, but in hindsight, I do wonder if I would have been better to paint the snowdrops with plain white outer petals. I think the painting has become a bit fussy as a visual image. I am not saying that I am displeased with the finished result, just that there may be a bit too much green and not enough striking white. (Although very little of a white petal is actually white)

When the painting was complete, I thought the leaves on the LH side were a bit pale against such a dark background and they stood out too much, so, since this photo was taken, I have darkened those leaves, and it greatly improved the balance.