Welcome to Polly's Blog

Welcome to Polly's Blog
Watercolour, humour, this and that

Saturday, 16 August 2014

IMAGINARY FLOWER WORKSHOP

Most of you know my battle with 'enjoying' painting flowers.  Well I should have gone on a floral workshop for watercolours, which was unfortunately cancelled!

Undaunted, I set about making myself spend a day doing an imaginary workshop at home.  I looked at books (not copied from them) for inspiration and youtube too.  Here is what happened. I did 4 in a day, which is what I anticipated would have been done on the workshop proper.

First painting I did was tulips. I was winging it here. Got the picture of a tulip from a gardening book. No influence here, just wanted to use a new orange I had (W&N transparent orange).  This was supposed to be very loose but got tighter and tighter and layer over layer.  So, was not happy with this method.  So Polly Birchall wasn't tutoring well in this instance!


I have great respect for an artist, now no longer with us, called Karen Simmons.  I received, on the day of my home self inflicted workshop, the book I had ordered for 1p plus p&p from Amazon. Painting Flowers in Watercolour (brilliant book).   So in tribute to her, I painted in her style, a Dainthus.  She uses what she calls blushes and I love that word, so used delicate pink blushes.  The book ends with a quotation from Marc Chagall - 'Art is the unceasing effort to compete with the beauty of flowers - and never succeeding'.


Next a loose painting of Chinese Lanterns.  Influenced by a book by Jean Haines, and using that delicious colour W&N transparent orange.  I love this style of painting, so much harder than it looks, but it seems to be natural to me and this is the way for me to go when painting flowers some of the time.  I like to vary how I paint so sometimes fairly accurate and sometimes a bit crazy.  I had seen her do a demo so was imagining her voice and looking over my shoulder.


And finally, a papaver.  This is influenced by Joanne Boon Thomas, who paints wonderful flowers in watercolour and brusho (a very exciting medium).  This is in watercolour.  I heard her lovely Lancashire accent goading me on to paint this red poppy.


These are all 10 x 16 on Bockingford.  Mostly using big brushes.

I thank the artists indirectly, for passing on their knowledge, be it by book or word of mouth, for helping me to begin enjoying painting flowers.  A miracle in itself.  Phew I thought I would never say that.

Have a lovely week all of you and look at the beautiful flowers out there just a a little bit longer than you normally do, they are all masterpieces.

26 comments:

  1. Got my 'Painting Flowers in Watercolour' by Karen Simmons today in the mail, thanks for the recommendation. A flip through let me know I'm going to have to sit down and read this one and work the exercises. Look for flowers from my table coming soon. Your flowers are breath takingly gorgeous.

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    1. You're very kind! And I hope you like the book. It will be just a guide for me but one I will enjoy looking at it when I feel my flower urge coming on.

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  2. Each and everyone really nice Polly, I know you say the tulips got thigh but you have still captured a lovely feel to them with beautiful fresh colours. My favorite way of doing flowers is loose and composition on the fly and I am looking forward to going to a 2 day Jean Haines workshop here in Adelaide in November.

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    1. Thanks Lorraine. You will enjoy her workshop. I saw her do a 2hr demo this year and it was lovely to see her delicacy of touch.

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  3. What an inspiring post, and lovely paintings. I too have a kind of love hate relationship with florals.....but LOVE it when I actually try to paint them!

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    1. Thank you for commenting. So glad I am not the only one that struggles with them, you make me feel better :)

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  4. Sorry your course got cancelled Polly. I know how much you were looking forward to it. Despite that your flowers are beautiful. You are at teaching stage yourself now. No joke. :-)

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    1. I was determined not to waste the day! I am glad you like the flowers and for your comment about teaching, you are making me blush.

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  5. I love your idea for having your own workshop because the one you were going to got cancelled. These are all lovely in a different way, and sometimes it helps to try different ways of approaching the same subject because you take away a bit of something from each approach. I love the misty loose tulips in the background of the first one and then the different ways you incorporated the loose look in each of the other flowers. Nice work, Polly.

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    1. Thank you Joan. I wouldn't be able to go on all these peoples courses (except for Joanne Boone Thomas) so it was interesting to get inside their minds. I am glad you like the different flowers and their methods.

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  6. Hi, Polly, I love these wonderful flowers! Also, I really love your humour that shines through!!! "ENJOY" watercolour. Best wishes, wink, wink, Sadami

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    1. I am a trier aren't I Sadami. Very trying!!! Thanks for commenting have a lovely week.

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  7. Ooh Polly - I want to come take a workshop with you. Each of these are fabulous my dear. Can't even choose which one I love best. I wonder how many artists that have shared with us over the years whether in workshops or books knows how much inspiration they have given us. For certain though Polly you have inspired me. Have a great week.

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    1. What a lovely comment for you to make. A little bit of inspiration works wonders and if I have inspired you one tiny bit that is very special. It is a pity that the artists who share their work with us never really know how much they have guided us. Have a lovely week too Debbie :)

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  8. well, as someone who doesn't use paintbrushes, and never draws flowers or landscapes, I'm overwhelked (sorry but I live by the sea) by all these pictures. I love every one of them! My favourite is the red poppy .... but that's because I'm kind of a red tarty person but the dianthus is a close second.
    I think you've cracked the florals!

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    1. Thanks a lot Sue. I didn't hate painting these flowers, so that is progress for me. I now feel I am on fair ground (get it - fairground) I live by the sea too. I love an excuse to paint gaudy red, so we are a couple of tarts then :)

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  9. Great workshop Polly! I specially like your Jean Haines interpretation. She's a wonderful artist, but all of the above are talented as you are yourself!

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    1. Thanks Helen. You flatter me, but I like it !!!!

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  10. I loved all of your wonderful flowers Polly. Annette x

    http://nettysartadventures.blogspot.co.uk/

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  11. Wow, Polly, I love them all...maybe especially the dianthus. Your "workshop" is a great idea. :-)

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    1. Thanks Sherry, wasn't easy, though, getting inside someone else's head

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  12. Lovely flowers in loose watercolor ...a difficult way for painting any subject but you won your sweet battle ,dear Polly!!!

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    1. And a battle it was too! Thank you for your kind comments.

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  13. Stunning and inspiring!! What a fabulous workshop and thank you for sharing it with us. ;-)

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    1. Thanks a lot John. I have had years of disliking painting flowers. For me it has worked - cramming like I used to do at school. It has ended up being fun.

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