Welcome to Polly's Blog

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

Saturday, 16 August 2014


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.