Rocks and Pebbles


We’re having a go at Rocks and Pebbles at Newark art Club tomorrow. It’s a great subject for practising tones and textures without the pressure of complicated flower forms to master. And the colours are quite limited and easy to use, but interesting to mix, making different shades of stone colours with siennas, pinks and violets. As with a flower painting, you start with a loose wash, setting the scene and then gradually defining more and more with negative painting and stronger tones to depict the crevices.

More irises



I did this iris study a while back from the photo I took in the garden last year. I like the way the tones and shadows are depicted on the flowers but when we do a similar study at the workshop, we will improve the composition and have the two flowers slightly overlapping so that the eye is not pulled back and forth to each separate flower.

I saw how misled we can be by using a reference photo too literally.

This is an unusual format that suits the upright iris form.

Wonderful Irises.




I’ve been thinking about irises as we have an Irises workshop in May. They are the most gorgeous showy flowers but are only with us for a matter of weeks.

I saw this scene last year in my friend Margaret’s garden and loved the shadow cast by the birdath in this sunny corner. Painting it has made me look at irises more carefully. I remade my small iris bed last year and I have high hopes of a great display in a month or so.

Clematis Montana stage 1

Stage 1 Using masking fluid, I masked out the main flowers entirely, the stamens on some background flowers and some buds and stalks. This is part of the planning process that I to go through in order that the final painting will have the depth afforded by some flowers being uncovered by the first washes of paint that are laid down.

When the masking was completely dry, I prepared my colours in the palette ready for the first wet in wet wash. I needed pinks to wash over the flowers areas, siennas and greens and blues to drop in over the leaf areas. Then I wetted the paper with clean water, allowing the water to sink in to the paper for half a minute and then rewetting it.

I then dropped in my prepared colours and allowed them to mingle on the paper, picking up the board and moving it to encourage this. I then allowed the first wash to dry. Click on Older Posts for the next stage.

Clematis Montana Stage 2

Stage 2 Now it was time to bring out the background unmasked flowers and drawn leaves by painting darker tones around them. Depending on what was behind the flowers, whether leaves or more flowers, I used greens and blues and pinks to do this using my photo reference to help me.

When this was dry, I continued finding more leaves and flowers within the washes I had just created by painting the negative shapes around them. Click on Older Posts for the next stage.

Clematis Montana Stage 3

Stage 3 Now I painted the background flowers with the pinks, dropping in the colours wet in wet. When dry I removed the masking on the stamens of these flowers and painted them using raw sienna. I removed the masking on the buds and stalks and painted them with raw sienna dropping in alizarin crimson wet in wet. I made sure that the buds in the middle left were darker in tone to make them appear in silhouette. Click on Older Posts for the next stage.

Clematis Montana Stage 4

Stage 4 I then removed the masking from the main flowers and having remasked out the stamens, I painted the petals carefully with the pinks, delineating their form with darker mixes. When this was dry, I removed the masking from the stamens and painted them with raw sienna, delineating them when dry with darker washes in the negative spaces between them. I dropped greens and crimson and violet into some of the leaves around the edges wet in wet to give them the characteristic purple look and added some veining detail in some of the leaves to help bring them forward.

Finally I tidied up the petal edges and put in some more negative dark shapes among the leaves and flowers using the photos for reference. Click on Older Posts for next stage