Friday, 11 September 2020

Trees, Flowers and Chirping Birds

Sun and Moon; watercolour, A3 size; Sept. 2020.

 A lone sunflower burst into bloom on the edge of our patio, probably a spilled seed from the bird feeder. Not much escapes the attentions of resident wood pigeons and blackbirds, but this seed somehow defied the daily regiments of rummaging beaks to seize a foothold and flourish. Good on ya, lil' seed.

So there it was in all its golden glory, bobbing madly in the increasing wind and about to be spoiled. So I nipped out with a pair of scissors and set it in a vase - where it looked pretty daft, actually, all alone on its own-e-oh. The solution was obvious. Very soon it was joined by more sunflowers and some tall white lilies. And then hubby suggested I paint them.

Flower painting is not an area in which I have much confidence; it's way outside of my comfort zone. Yes, I've done two flower paintings recently but these are - so far as I can recall - the only ones I've ever done, and I only did these due to being subject to the COVID 19 lockdown when we were all supposed to stay at home as much as possible. Challenges can be fun, though, and comfort zones are good to expand, so I selected an A3-size sheet of cold pressed, 300 lbs Bockingford paper and drew the blooms.

Note the mandatory cup of tea!

The watercolour paints are a mixture of Winsor & Newton and Daler Rowney, and I use Royal & Langnickel brushes. Some people get very keen to ferret out these technical details, as if knowing this will magically improve their own art. It won't; only practice will do this.

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Anyway, here's the finished painting, which was done over a number of days. With watercolour, you really need to let each stage dry before pushing ahead with the next, and so I'd paint a bit early in the morning then head off to my day job. By the time I get home, the best light is already fading now we're heading into autumn and so I waited till the next day before doing more.

I'm now toying with the idea of doing more flower paintings. This could possibly become a theme, over time. Besides, it gives me the perfect excuse for buying more gorgeous flowers for our dining room!

Tree #3, Birkenhead Park Series; oil on canvas; 2020.

The other painting which I've now finished is Tree #3. Yes, it is a plain title. Maybe I'll concoct something more poetic later. Or maybe not. Anyway, it's a tree and it grows in Birkenhead Park and so the painting is inevitably a part of my on-going series themed on that location.

I find myself interested by the twisty, entwined shapes of old trees, and by the variations of colour and light/shade especially in a dense, tangled copse or woodland. This particular tree stands in the upper park, close to Ashfield Road, in a small area specifically set aside for wildlife so the ground hasn't been tidied up too much. I may well return to this spot to paint some more.

For oil paintings, I use Winsor & Newton's Artists' Hog brushes, which have long handles and I've found them to be incredibly versatile and hard-wearing. The paints themselves are an assortment of several quality brands, and I use an ancient hardboard palette which I never clean with anything other than a rag or a few sheets of kitchen roll. 

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the paintings. Do feel free to leave your comments below.

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