I hope you enjoyed the video interview in my last Blog – the particular painting method I was highlighting is quite different from the way I usually tackle flowers. It’s as though the nature of the subject – ‘still life’ – can take the more prolonged, studied approach, whereas flowers on the other hand call for a more loose and speedy method.
Although not the ideal time for long painting sessions with the shortage of natural light, painting flowers will always brighten my day. Thankfully, Poppies are an all-time favourite and – very much on our minds at the moment especially as Armistice, as we know it, now in its 100th year, has been severely curtailed.
However, I like to create from memory and sketches, flooding my favourite reds and teasing Indian ink into the wet paint. I suddenly felt the need to paint poppies at speed in order to keep them as fresh as possible, and now I have poppies coming out of my ears.
One of the poppy paintings, I decided to make into a window display (see image) as we have quite a few walkers passing by the cottage, and I thought I would join the thousands of other people up and down the country decorating their houses to help raise awareness of the poppy appeal charities, and besides, it certainly brightens up the street.
Being an avid sketcher, in the summer I did take advantage of the good weather when the garden was in bloom, and with fresh flowers at present in short supply, I don’t have to look further than my sketchbooks for inspiration.
My favourites at the moment are Lilies, Peonies and Anemones – in fact I can amuse myself all day long with most floral shapes and conjuring up compositions is a great way to continue to develop.
I must admit to be using a lot of paper lately – I love taking a large sheet (A1) and starting in the centre and working out. Fortunately, I stocked up early in the year in preparation for courses and demonstrations. Sadly these have not come to pass, BUT the paper is coming into its own.
I’m experimenting at present with Hahnemuhle printmaking paper, 300g luscious and soft as linen. I love it, and it is testing me too, as I don’t like to rest too long in my comfort zone. This particular paper is not really made for watercolours, especially for lifting off and all the other things I like to do with it, but I’m coaxing it into my way of thinking and loving the process. I fluctuate between several papers and probably my all-time favourite is Two Rivers handmade in Somerset, which is a whole different ballgame.