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!
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