Thursday, 21 July 2016

Step by Step - Camellia

Having been back in my studio properly now for a couple of weeks I feel I am just getting my hand back in. I have tackled works requiring drawing along with the free style of just throwing paint around and building from there. I love the freedom of this way of working even though they are not always a winner. Today I thought you might like to see one of my throwing paint around paintings  I started yesterday and this morning tweaked that I am really pleased with.

Reference Material: 
A few shots taken on my Ipad of a potted Camellia in my garden, not a really healthy specimen but it has now has one open flower and lots of buds. It caught my attention on my way to the studio so it became my latest subject.

Paper:     Arches 300gsm Hot Press
Size:        1/2 sheet 56cm x 38cm
I chose to use Hot Press paper simply because I had a half sheet left already in my drawer and as I like using both Hot and Cold Press I did not give its characteristics any real thought for this painting.

I gave most thought to the colours having tested a little with the Pinks choosing a few for variety
Colours:  Pinks/Reds
                Rose Madder, Opera Rose, Quinacridone Magenta, Winsor Red
                Cascade Green, Indigo
                Cadmium Yellow, Quinacridone Gold
                Burnt Sienna, Flinders Violet

Step 1
I wet the paper on the back and laid it flat on my board and easel. I sprayed the front so I had some dry paper left as this makes it easier to not have colours totally merge together and gives me a little room for stop and start sections.

Step 2
NO DRAWING - Using a mop brush add colour randomly but trying to keep some areas light and pink glancing at the photos to get the feel of what might work. If you find this too scary you could always do a bit of pre planning and then lightly draw in where you might have the blooms. I prefer the excitement this way of painting gives me - living dangerously and seeing what happens.
The leaves do not need drawing as they will appear as you build and add colour

Step 3
Whilst the paper is still wet (it will stay wet for longer because of wetting the back) you have plenty of time to add more colour - I added some splattered paint too and the start of branches and stems where all the edges will be soft giving you plenty of choice for sharpening in the next stage.

Step 4
At this stage I had to stop and let it all dry because a friend called in and once the paper starts to dry it is hard to add more without creating watermarks unless of course you want some. Stopping for coffee was a good idea anyway as it have me time to see what the wet into wet had provided me leading me to the next step. This is really working intuitively and there is no right or wrong here you just have to trust your choices.

Step 5
When all was dry I lifted colour out in some centres as I did not leave white paper for the stamens. I could now add some yellow. 
I lifted colour and added more pinks and reds to give the blooms some form.
Greens and blues added making some positive leaf shapes and suggestions with negative shapes
The branches were tidied up and more little twigs added.A little white added to lead my eye through the darks.
At this stage I decided it was complete. This is always the hardest part knowing when to stop. I signed it so really that says to me Stop. 

Step 6
Take a photo, leave it alone and go cook dinner. Look at photo after dinner and decide to tweak in the morning.

Step 7
New day with fresh eyes, I decide to extend the dark to the upper left hand corner. Add a little more yellow here and there, tweak some of the blooms. Time to Stop and call it done!

Hot Pink, Cold Day


  1. I always love step by steps and this one is so beautiful and informative. Love how you paint this Lorraine and love to see you back at the brushes.


  2. Dear Lorraine so glad you shared your process. It is always delightful to see your lovely art. Hope you are having a great week. Hugs!

  3. Love seeing your process!!! This is lovely!

  4. Great to see your process Lorraine! These camellias turned out beautifully. Good to be back painting I imagine even after such a wonderful trip.

  5. Beautiful painting, Lorraine!! Thank you for sharing your process!

  6. Thanks so much for this step by step. Great how you explain and wonderful what you have done!


I love sharing my journey with fellow bloggers and your feedback through comments is always appreciated.