I am now at my parents home in Masuria and as always in the summer when I come here, I take a camera take thousands (literally) photos of flowers, which I later use for painting. I try to set the camera at different angles, so that I could later choose the picture that suits me best. I often take dozens of photos of one plant, because I focus on all of the most important parts of the plant, so that there is no situation later that I want to paint something and it is blurred and can not be seen.

Sweet pea

I found an interesting specimen yesterday – sweet pea. I saw it often, but it was almost always pink and the one I found yesterday had a lot of different colors. I thought that it would be a good subject for color testing and exercise on finding the colors as close as possible to the original.

Fortunately, I took the painting supplies with me. I took Fabriano Artistico paper which I cut into smaller sheets. Unfortunately, when I cut the paper I forgot to mark the “right” side on each sheet. I used to read somewhere that the right side to paint is the one with a watermark.

I chose a flower with deep purple-red petals. I took an extra sheet, put it next to my palette and I checked the color mixes on it. I applied the first layer of Permanent Rose PV19, Perylene Violet PV29 and Mauve PV23 (Schmincke Horadam).

The subsequent layers were darker and looked better. I discovered that Alizarin Crimson PR83 + Perylene Violet PV29 and Alizarin Crimson PR83 + MAVE PV23 + a bit of Perylene Violet PV29 make beautiful, deep, dark purples.

This flower has a matte surface, as if there was a bluish down, especially on the two petals at the front which form a triangular shape. I used white gouache with a touch of Payne’s Gray Bluish PBk6, PB15: 6 to achieve the matte surface effect.

Painting from live

The next day I made a sketch of another flower next to the previous one. I applied the first layer. The front petals were more blue-purple and the back was red-brown, but I used Purple Magenta PR122 for the first layer, because I see this color in the petals, although it is not dominant. To paint the back petals I used Perylene Maroon PR179, and for the darker areas a mix of Perylene Maroon PR179 with Mauve PV23.

Pink flower

I’ve done some color tests. I decided that the mix of Winsor Red PR254 and Permanent Rose PV19 was the most similar to the original color. Later, I added a layer of Ruby Red PV19, the color between red and pink. Darker stains are a mix of Winsor Red PR254 and Permanent Rose PV19 with Perylene Violet PV29. I knew that when I added the veins, then it would all look better, so I patiently applied next layers and waited for everything to dry out.

I used the lifting technique on the petals to create highlights. With a damp brush, I rubbed several times in places where I wanted to have highlights and removed the paint with a clean tissue, pressing it to the paper.