Sweet peas on a sunlit windowsill…stages

I recently uploaded the following step by step project on to Facebook as I know people enjoy seeing the painting process.

But I also know that there are lots of people who read this blog who do not choose to join the Facebook community.

So I thought I’d upload it here for you.

I took this photo of some sweet peas that I’d picked from the garden one summer’s day.  I remember that we were going on holiday the next day and that by the time we came back the sweet peas would be over…bad planning!  So I figured that if I picked a bunch and photographed them, then I might be able to paint from that in the future…good planning!

I love cast shadows and the one here on the windowsill inspired a painting.  I photographed each stage so here are the stages with a few words to explain the process.

Please Click on the photos to make them larger.

My photo
The colours I used
Stage 1

You can see a very simple drawing to get the basic outline. I’ve wetted the whole paper and then dropped in colours wet in wet. I’ve dropped in yellows and pinks on the window edge and sill for the reflected colours and light. I’ve masked one or two areas to retain light and for the “holes” in the cast shadow.

Stage 2

The main flower shapes are in. I tried to keep them loose by dropping in colours wet in wet. After wetting the vase I dropped in greys made from mixing pink, yellow and green in the palette. I’ve dropped some green in wet in wet at the top of the vase. Important to leave the bottom of the vase unpainted.


Stage 3
I mingled the colours in the palette to make a grey for the shadow. You can see the pinks that I’ve dropped into the shadow wet in wet. That’s the reflected light from the sweet peas. I left a white band on the top of the water in the vase when I painted the flower stalks. I’ve painted some wood shapes into the sill very pale to retain the sense of sunshine hitting the surface.

The finished painting
I’ve put another layer of dark over the shadow on the window edge and on the front of the sill. More dark greens have been dropped into the background and some detail to the window sill. I’ve added some stalks among the flowers. But the general effect is “less is more”.


. I was inspired by the cast shadow and the challenge of making the flowers read “sweet peas” without going into too much detail. The glass vase is hardly painted at all…only what is in it or visible through it.  

Hope you enjoyed seeing the stages!

Ideas, ideas and more ideas…

I’m looking out on to a rather bleak but still beautiful landscape, being battered by strong winds today.  This is a hilltop village, so we have the views but we also are open to the blasts of strong winds which have plagued us this year from the South West.  But not complaining, worth it for the view!

There are two hares sitting in the field in front of me…it’s a field of winter wheat and they seem to be hanging out there during most of the day, sitting there, ears back, perhaps waiting for the Spring to arrive…love this country life!

Anyway here’s something I prepared earlier

Hydrangeas
This was a half finished demo from a hydrangeas workshop a year or two ago.  Thought I’d put some finishing touches to it.  I love the textures, shapes and depth of hydrangea flowers and the varied tones and colours within them.  Never tire of painting them.
It’s a time of ideas…contemplation, decision making and so on about the way forward for me.  We are looking into renewing my website so that it can include more work and it will mean that I will be able to update it myself without asking a website manager to make any changes.  More filmed painting demos are on the cards which people can download.  And I still am looking at ways to put some course materials on line for learning watercolourists and to offer feedback on their work.
It all takes time though!  These days actual painting is only a fraction of what can be done. The possibilities afforded by the internet are so varied and numerous…you almost don’t know where to start!

Getting back to work…

The second blog post within one week!

I’m determined to keep uploading news here and as I’ve actually been in my art room every day, I have something to report.  My new room is now feeling more familiar and I’m more at home in it.  I didn’t understand how long it would take to get accustomed as an artist to a new creative environment…we are such sensitive creatures! Ha!

So I start out on a new piece of work…only to find that my masking fluid has dried up and gone solid.  I thought of the times when I had (gently) chided my students when they hadn’t kept their equipment in good order…” If you painted every day…”!  Masking fluid is famed for being awkward and going hard or lumpy or generally unusable, and there am I not able to paint without going out to the shops and buying more.  Good start!  Aargh!

So I’m spending some time getting used to the routine again.  It’s a case of generally looking through old paintings, riffling through my collection of photos,  relocating my sketch books and finding out where I’d put my stock of paper.

My thoughts are being concentrated by the upcoming SFP exhibition, not til May/June.  So I’m revisiting a painting that was very popular on facebook when I uploaded it last year.

The Daylilies painting receiving some extra attention
It’s of daylilies in my old garden, resplendent in the midday sun.  It was ok but just needed tightening up a bit.  But not too much!
Still working on that…
But last Friday was exciting.  A painting sold on my website.  And the discovery that one of my paintings had been used for a greetings card and I hadn’t been paid for the licence.  So that needed sorting out.  It took the best part of a morning…I wish I had a PA!

A Happy New Creative Year to you!

A Happy New Year to everyone!
This blog has been sorely neglected over the last few months due to our having moved house and my having been very busy doing all the various chores that come with setting up a new home.
But here I am sitting in my new art room enjoying a beautiful view over open fields at the back of this new house and I couldn’t be more content!
My view as I paint in my new art room

But here’s a thing. 
Why haven’t  I produced any art for such a long time?  That’s a question I cannot answer and it has been preying on my mind all this time.  Real artists draw and paint every day don’t they?  How has it been possible for me to leave it alone for so long?
Answers on a postcard…or leave me a comment if you have suffered this sort of artist’s block in the past and how you have overcome it.

My poor neglected palette from the last time I painted
Quite beautiful in itself, huh?

My last watercolour painted in June 2015

In the meantime, I’m passing on a piece of important information.
As they are more or less sold out, I have withdrawn my watercolour techniques DVD from sale on Amazon.  There are only a few remaining which can be ordered on my website through PayPal, but no longer via Amazon.
Many people have asked about a second DVD.  Plans are afoot to produce some video material which will be downloadable direct.  No sending off for DVDs, just a click and a payment you will be able to view the video in a matter of minutes, even seconds and it will be there for you to watch again and again.
This takes some setting up though!  But hopefully this Spring will see some watercolour techniques downloads available from AnnMortimerArt.