For this exercise, I was to set up a still life with flowers that can remain in place for a day or two, keeping the arrangement simple. Notice the outlines around and between things – the negative shapes – and try to create interesting and varied spaces and intervals between the objects in my arrangement. I sat with the arrangement around eye level. I didn’t concentrate on foreshortening, keeping the flowers relatively the same size, instead I used the vases to create the depth. Poor light in the area meant I had to add lighting and manipulated the beams in order not to put too heavy shadow within the painting. The flowers were large but delicate blooms so I didn’t want to make the shadow the focal point. To begin I set up the arrangement and found one of my £3 blooms of less than a day had a bruised stem and I had to cut it. This led to me having one bloom much shorter than was expected so I had to make do and mend as they say. For once the first arrangement was exactly how I wanted, how did that happen, it usually takes me several attempts! I made one larger coloured pencil sketch to test colour and then a series of small sketches to make sure the arrangement was as I wanted. I didn’t like the background that I had to set my arrangement on and decided some artistic licence may be best. Eventually after several watercolour sketches I decided to go with pastel green for the wall and blue for the shelf.
I wanted the painting to be simple so as not to dominate the three blooms. These were big bold delicate flowers and there was nothing wild about them they were bred for their beauty and dominance and I wanted to show this within the painting.
I have for a long time loved watercolour painting of flowers, my interest began when I first bought The Frampton Flora a documentation of Botanical paintings found in the attic of Frampton Court. Since I have been in awe of several contemporary artists, to name a few, Anna Mason, Billy Showell, Dianne Sutherland, Ann Swan, and Siriol Sherlock. With the start of this course I now realise the talent of many earlier artists who worked with botanical art like Maria Sibylla Merian a Botanical Illustrator, Naturalist.
This work of hers was produced using black chalk, bodycolour and watercolour it shows the details and delicate work she was capable of. (Unknown, 2017)
I decided to use watercolour as a medium, for me it shows translucent nature of flowers better than any other medium. The blooms I feel were done relatively well and I liked the flow of the paint and the colour. What I don’t like are the vases I feel the lack of stem on the nearest flower and the size of the heads made the picture a little top heavy, if it hadn’t been for the shadow it would have looked very top heavy and I am not sure why I didn’t notice this before I started the painting. I think instead of drawing the vases at a slight angle, I should have gone with the larger drawing I made foreshortening the vases and flowers as they taper off to the rear. The background which I thought would be the most difficult, turned out better than I thought and doesn’t take the eye away from the subject.
Colours used were from Winsor & Newton Payne’s Grey, Opera Rose, French Ultramarine, Alizarin Crimson, Winsor Blue (Green), Cerulean Blue, Winsor Violet, Hookers and Olive Green. The outline of the picture was drawn in pencil and erased as I went along. The paint applied in thin glazes. To produce the detail on the petals I either remove areas of colour glaze with a damp brush before the paint dried, or added with a dry brush.
If I was to paint the picture again I would make sure my blooms were not damaged giving a longer stem and perhaps use a little artistic licence and enlarge the vases a little also using a little foreshortening to balance up the whole picture.
Below is a photograph taken of the arrangement.
Unknown, 2017. Botanical Art and Artists. [Online]
Available at: http://www.botanicalartandartists.com/about-maria-sibylla-merian.html
[Accessed 7 October 2017].