Watercolour Study – Granny Smith Blossom

Granny Smith Apple Blossom (Watercolour Study)

Granny Smith Apple Blossom (Watercolour Study)

Not much going on this week I’m afraid, but I did take time yesterday for a small watercolour study of the blossom on my second apple tree, which has just started blooming. This one was a recent birthday present from Jim and grows Granny Smith apples (hopefully!).

I decided I needed a second tree because the first one hasn’t given us any apples so far in the five years we’ve had it… they keep falling off when they’re still small, so I wondered if it needed a pollinator. We’ll just have to see how they both get on this year 🙂 .

This tree is  a dwarf ballerina style, so it’s cultivated to be about a metre high and only produce small branches all the way up the trunk so what you see here is the entire length of a branch. I was fascinated to see just how different the blossom is on my new tree, the buds are a much deeper red, and no leaves yet just flowers and buds. For reference the study I made of the other tree, which is a Gala apple, can be found here.

Colours used here: Alizarin Crimson, Indian Yellow, Sap Green, Indanthrene Blue and Burnt Sienna.

Apple Blossom, Pt. 2

Emerging Apple Blossom (Watercolour)

Emerging Apple Blossom (Watercolour)

After two days staring at spreadsheets and fighting with Excel it’s been a welcome break to pick up a paintbrush again this afternoon… I had managed a dabble here and there over the weekend, but there was not enough progress to share. Especially as I had the the feeling I’d already messed it up enough to throw away.

So I began today’s session with the feeling I was just practising and this painting was now for the bin (Jean Haines-ism), as it had already been broken. If only that feeling could be bottled, because it’s just the right thing to take the pressure off and let you experiment.

So my aim was just to try and add enough tonal contrast to make the leaves stand out. One of my problem areas has always been making darker tones, and today has been no exception – it’s very hard, especially with fresh green leaves. They all look the same colour!

Anyway, I did eventually achieve a bit of contrast, and without too much mud through over mixing. I did lose some of the bright edges of the blossom stalks. but feel I made some progress in the end.

Emerging Apple Blossom

Emerging Apple Blossom (Watercolour)

Emerging Apple Blossom (Watercolour)

It’s Friday again… my hasn’t this week gone quickly? I know! I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but this year has flown by so far. The garden is changing faster than I can cope with as Summer gets closer and I think the grass has been taking lessons from Jack’s beanstalk, so I really had to find an hour today to cut it.

Later on I stood at my drawing board and wondered about continuing with the Alpaca, or putting a few more marks on the Plum Blossom, but something had caught my eye while I was outside… just three small clumps of leaves unfurling on the apple tree with little pink buds nestled in the middle of them. Too tempting!!

So I headed back out with a camera and here’s the start of a study… incidentally, the colours here are fairly true to life, they really are the most amazing pink!

Springtime Ornamental Plum Blossom, Pt. 3

Ornamental Plum Blossom (Watercolour)

Ornamental Plum Blossom (Watercolour)

 
Today is a public holiday in Australia and it’s been a great end to a wonderfully relaxing long weekend… a beautiful sunny day, just a bit cooler than yesterday, but still too hot to do much gardening while the sun was on my neck. After half an hour of weeding I gave up and tried adding some more detail to the Plum Blossom painting that I started last week.

I’m trying hard to keep it loose but it’s definitely tightening up. Not that it’s ruining the painting – I love the colours that are building in the background. I was worried that after adding some shadows to the flowers they were becoming too dark so I layered some more colours into the background – Indigo Blue, Indian Yellow, Sap Green and Alizarin Red – and it’s made the flowers leap out again.

I feel I still need to define, or should I say suggest, more petals on the blossom to make it a stronger focus. I hope I can do it without losing the luminosity… and the moment I put the branch in I realised it would have been better on more of an angle. Oh well, it’s all about learning 🙂 .

Springtime Ornamental Plum Blossom

Ornamental Plum Blossom (Watercolour)

Ornamental Plum Blossom (Watercolour)

The weather here has been lovely recently and last weekend I was able to spend hours in the garden tidying up after winter. Lots of weeding got done and I began pruning the citrus trees. The mandarin has worked so hard this year with such an enormous crop that it’s looking exhausted and has lots of bare branches and leaves dropping. I’m hoping that a bit of careful thinning will give it some extra energy… mind you, I’m no expert on fruit trees so I hope I’m doing the right thing! All the trees got a good feed as well 🙂 .

All the while I was outside there was a gentle humming of bees buzzing around on my neighbour’s Ornamental Plum trees, which are right along our fence line… and every now and then the breeze would send a confetti of pink petals floating across the garden. The blossom doesn’t last very long but it’s spectacular while it’s there and the bees love it.

I tried painting the blossom last year as well and was quite pleased with the result so I’ve been itching for Spring to come so I could have another go. Last year’s attempt was all pink but I’m keen to work on my darks at the moment so I’ve used several colours in the first wash, which I’ll build on to suggest the foliage of the garden behind the these trees. So far I’ve used Rose Madder, Sap Green, Indigo, Cobalt Blue and Indian Yellow.

I’m still uneasy building up background washes, especially trying to get deep colours, so it’ll be interesting to see how this works out. I think generally I try and get too much into the first wash and then end up with mud or something too heavy to build upon. But this one has started off nice and delicate, so thumbs up so far!