Monday, 30 June 2008

Peony Roses

Following on from the Foxgloves and Clematis, and with dark clouds theatening I had a go at the Peony Roses in my front garden:

Neopastels on paper, 38x27cm: "Peonies 1"; As the blousey petals open we see these fantastic deep yellow stamen, but it's not easy making an image when they are flapping around in the breeze. Encouraged by my drawing of these two I take on the whole bunch:
Neocolours on paper, 57x41cm: "Peony Roses"; Responding directly to the variety of colours and forms I work feverishly as the sky darkens further and spots of rain tell me it's time to pack up and get back inside.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Foxgloves and Clematis

As one plant comes into flower another departs the scene: these foxgloves are actually self-seeded in the garden but I like them so much I just leave them. And the bees apparently can't get enough of them either!
Pastel on paper, 22x40cm: "Foxglove 1"; This is the first drawing I made this morning using dry pastels boldly laying down some broad swatches of strong pink colour with the side of a stick then expressing the outline of the flowers with an analogeous but cooler violet. No hurry to capture the bees - they are visiting constantly. My next attempt takes a sideways view:

Neocolour on paper, 24x38cm: "Foxglove 2"; This time I'm using Neocolour II's. These are watersoluable and I love the colour range, the marks they make, and the feel of them. And there's that b again. Getting to know her personally by now! Finally for my last attempt I bring two different plants together from opposite sides of the garden:
Neocolours on paper, 33x50cm: "Foxgloves"; Working to a much larger scale on an A2 sheet of cartridge paper I am less constrained and enjoy the drawing of these flowers even more, if that could be possible!

Finally, I return to dry pastels for this drawing of the Clematis 'The President':

Pastels on paper, 37x29cm: "The Last of The President"; All the other clematis flowers have dropped their petals and this is the "Last Man Standing". Two withered petals are clinging on, faded and curling, and soon to blow off with the next strong gust of wind. I am always fascinated by the deep red colour of the twining stalks. And even though it will be a whole year before I get to see these ladies again at least I have some images of their glorious short life to remind me of their beauty and graciousness.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Colourful Gardens Need Water

Not getting much time just now to go off on safari for "en plein air" painting sessions so the garden is having to make do. But that's OK because there is plenty at this time of year to keep me interested and occupied. Yesterday I was playing around with my watercolour box in the studio making a mess as usual, when the sun burst out and the garden looked a more inviting place to be. So I de-camped out in front of the big Reverted Rhododendron and set up my easel. Made some loose pencil marks to start with then as quickly and directly as possible I put down bold washes partly to keep it lively and also as Casey aims for, a fair degree of abstraction. You be the judge if it worked or not:

Watercolour on paper, 30x23cm: "Reverted Rhoddy"; I enjoy the directness of watercolour and the excitement - it's a bit like bungee-jumping with a brush: you need the nerve to jump off the edge and hope that the rope will be short enough (and the marks positive enough to make a satisfactory image) and you don't dash yourself on the rocks below because it all went horribly wrong!
This is Leo with his own little watercolour set about to give me tips on how to drink the water out of the jar and get reds and purples on your paws! Look and learn, Brian and Lorraine!

Moving round to the front of the house are these superb Peony Roses which have been blooming fabulously for the past three or four weeks. The problem is that I am a bit shy (ha!) to work out there because it is too open and public and I do not like being seen by my neighbours pretentiously working at my easel wearing my smock and beret! I was going to add that the other problem is that the Peonies are now going over and shedding their petals, but actually this is the way I like them - when they are past their best and the cycle of Nature is moving on to the next stage: Watercolour on paper, 30x23cm: "Perfect Peonies Passing"; Peony Roses are so luscious in colour and fullness it is a veritable cascade of crimson when they shed their petals on the ground. This one is like a scarlet coated Japanese warrior spilling his life's blood on the ground in honourable hara-kiri [seppuku](except that Peonies don't come from Japan, but from Central Europe)(see what you can learn by reading my blog!)

And standing to attention supervising all this goryness are these lovely Lupins:

Watercolour on paper, 30x23cm: "Lovely Lupins"; It's amazing when you really look at your lupins just how many colours and shades of colour there are on the one spike. From pale, pale yellow down through the pinks (on the left) and from pale yellow with touches of green and red as well, down through mauve/purples to purple/blues (on the right). No matter what colour they all have the same wonderful spikey digital leaves. Can't get enough of them!

With the exception of the cat photo these three watercolours can be puchased here:

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Garden Gnome

Holidays over and it's back to work and there's some wonderful flowering going on around the garden. This is me in deep concentration alone with my muse - a fantastically bright red poppy with it's petals flapping about in the breeze like danger flags or wildly gesticulating arms trying like mad to attract attention:

What you don't see in this picture, apart from the photographer (Mrs.C) creeping around at my back, is Leo hiding under his favourite dark red bush ready to pounce on any tweety-birdies who happen to hop by. Oh, aye, and for the length of time I was sitting there making a whole bunch of studies my feet had taken root!

Pastels on Ingres paper, 30x23cm: "Poppy 1"; as the title suggests this was the first study made that day of these big flappy petals. And no sooner had I photographed the painting and uploaded it onto my Etsy site than a lady from Australia purchased it because her little baby daughter is also called Poppy!

Pastels on Ingres paper, 30x23cm: "Poppy 2"; I never tire of painting these flower-heads; they are so exhuberant and joyful and the way the petals flap about in the breeze there are endless permutations of how it looks. There were many more studies but I don't want to become boring talking about it, so I'll move on to my favourite Clematis:

Pastels on Ingres paper, 22x15cm: "The President"; That's the common name for a very uncommon and spectacular flower. I love it for it's dark, dark, purple/blue colouring - about the deepest shade I know in this variety of climber.

Finally while all this colour is rioting over on one side of the garden the Rhododendrons are quietly getting on with their own thing. This one in particular once was a hybrid variety with bright crimson flowers but over the years has grown much bigger and "reverted" to it's more natural state: Pastels on Ingres paper, 30x23cm: "Reverted Rhoddy"; Even with it's 'cooler' colours when seen en masse when you look right into the uppermost petal it has this bright orange flash with darker spotted reds and scarlet stamen. So it's not really that shy after all!