Monday, 30 March 2020

An Anemone flower for the beginner

During this difficult times when so many of us are isolated and needing to switch off from the news, a simple painting project can be the perfect thing to enable us to concentrate on something else and give our minds a break!

You may remember if you follow my posts that before the 'lock down' I bought some plants from the garden centre, the flowers of which have now begun to open. I had no idea that anemones close when there is no sun (sorry for my ignorance here) so they remained tight shut for quite some time before, voila! the sun came out and I had a burst of magical colour!

To keep things easy for us, I'm not going to use the flower in front of me, because you can't see it, so we will use this image together.

If you would like to paint this with me, you will need

  • A sheet of not surface watercolour paper (this has a medium texture on it) 140lb weight.
  • A round brush in a size 12 (no smaller than a 10) I shall be using my Classic Round.
  • A round brush in a size 6 I shall be using my Pointer brush.
  • A spritzer or water spray with a fine mist (avoid the large splattery ones)
  • Watercolour paint either pans or tubes.
  • Embossing tool or toothpick
  • Water pot
To begin, if you want to draw some outlines, do, but for your first study I suggest you don't. I realise this might seem scary, but I want you to relax and have a go at these techniques. They may be new to you, so experiment and don't worry about what its going to look like.

We are going to begin with the centre of the flower, so using a dark Indigo or Shadow colour, make sure the brush has plenty of paint in it and paint a round blob, look at the photo and paint a series of small dots around the blob, then using a small embossing tool tease the wet paint from each of the blobs back towards the centre.
Whilst the paint is still wet (very important) use your spritzer and pump it once. A light spatter of water droplets will disperse some of the colour. If nothing seems to happen, use the spritzer again, but avoid over doing this or you will end up with a puddle.

Whilst this is still wet we can begin to paint the petals. 
Use any colour in your box which is similar to the colour of the flower, if you don't have the exact colour, use something similar. 

Mix a lovely big pool of strong colour, load up your brush and using the whole brush, begin at the end of the petal and move the brush towards the centre without lifting the brush off the paper.

Allow the Magenta to touch the dark section, then pull the brush back and lift it using the point to draw the shape of the petal before lifting the brush off the paper. Clean the brush or use a second brush which has only clean water in it and wet the remaining shape of the first petal, allowing the Magenta to flood into that shape.

Using the same wet brush, (just water, no colour) paint the wet shape of the second petal, allowing the brush to gently touch the first petal, inviting the colour to move into the adjoining section.
Notice how wet this is.

If your brush is too dry (not loaded enough) it will all dry too fast and you wont get the same effect.
Still using water, touch the dark centre (still wet) dragging the brush back towards the rest of the wet petal inviting that dark colour to run.
If you leave a dry gap, the paint wont cross this, so any light areas you want to create can be done this way.

Yours will not look the same as mine. If I painted another flower, it would not be the same as this one. Make sure you regularly look at the photo for the petal shapes and where the light petals are as well as the dark sections.

Ideally we want to continue, we don't want it to dry, but if it does, just keep going.

Using the same technique as our first petal, use the whole bush again, keeping it on the paper, as if you are moulding the shape of the petal, rather than stroking or dabbing the brush onto the paper.

As the paint settles into the paper and dilutes with the water already on the surface it will lighten so adding more Magenta to suggest separate petals can be done at this stage.

Using my Pointer brush I gently tap the paper, each tap releases colour out of the tip of the brush.

Each time I do this, I am not only adding colour but re-wetting this section. 

You can continue to paint the entire flower in this way, or take the chance to create a more painterly effect by using the spritzer again.

If you are happy with your first effort, complete it, without taking any chances then have another go using the spritzer on your second one.

For those of you wanting to take some risks.... lets go! 
Whilst the flower is still wet, spritz water onto the left and top petals.
These are the ones on the photo in sunlight. Allow the colour to diffuse.
Don't be tempted to prod it.
Don't worry that you seem to be 'losing' the petal shapes, we will suggest them again later.

At this point, walk away. Don't watch!

Now that its dry, suggesting the petals again is easy. 

Using the tip of my Classic brush, I draw the outer shape of the petal.
These can remain a 'hard edge' or softened with water suggesting a softer edge.

Where the pink has run into the background area, this could imply a bud in the future, especially when incorporated into a background.

To soften this edge, wet the petal with water allowing the wet brush to touch the colour at the edge. The colour will move into the wet section. 

The same can be done to suggest any other petals.
The result is a much softer one than if you don't use the spritzer

I hope you have enjoyed this post, and that you have a few goes at it, this should keep you busy for a couple of days.

Tomorrow I will show you how to add a bit of background, so that you can take things a bit further. 

Meanwhile, stay home and stay safe.

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