More Cherries…

Ripe Cherries 2 (Watercolour Sketch)

Ripe Cherries 2 (Watercolour Sketch)

After feeling dissatisfied with yesterday’s attempt at cherries I decided to try them again today as a warm up, before painting another wash on the picture of Flint… before I began I’d been reading about using glazing washes to maintain the radiance of your washes so I thought I’d give it a go.

This has turned out very differently to yesterday’s painting, it is much clearer and brighter but I feel it’s also less spontaneous and alive. In my opinion it looks much more contrived than my first attempt and as a result I think I prefer the first one, with all it’s faults ūüôā



Day 25: Gum Nut Watercolour Sketch

Gum Nut Sketch (Watercolour)

Gum Nut Sketch (Watercolour)


I’m back to Red Gum again today, with the bushes nearby having shed almost all the flowers and now producing seed heads or Gum Nuts as they’re commonly known here. They go through¬†quite¬†a surprising metamorphosis from the original conical flower stems until they are bunches of these hard little bells.

I’ve been quite surprised by this sketch… while I was painting I couldn’t put a brush stroke right, or so it seemed. The stalks were too fat & blobby, the nuts were too wet and the red & green didn’t mix. And it all looked bad and felt clumsy…

Then I went to get dinner. I was also cooking jam that was just ready for potting, and that took a while… About an hour and a half later I went back to scan this little sketch and was gobsmacked. This is NOT what I saw on the paper when I was painting, this looks good!

Somehow during my time away from it every individual, isolated and unsure brush stroke, all of which didn’t add up, had fused together and become a whole. I haven’t had this happen so dramatically ever before, probably because I usually don’t stop at the point where I think it’s all gone wrong. It’s a great result, but the worrying thing is it’s shown me how wrong my thought process is and that to get a result¬†like¬†this I will have to totally¬†rethink¬†what I’m expecting to see as I’m applying the paint. I hope it’s not a fluke!


Day 15: Red Gum Tree

Red Gum Flowers (watercolour)

Red Gum Flowers (watercolour)


Remember the preliminary washes for more Red Gum flowers that I did a few days ago? This afternoon I spent an hour or so adding some more depth to the blossoms and practising my negative painting on the foliage.

Whilst the colours here are slightly more vibrant than in the original (I love what scanning does to watercolour!) I’m still very happy with the result.

It sort of has the feel of a 1950’s book illustration, which wasn’t intentional but I like it all the same – I was worried that the greens were turning out too ‘fake’ green, so I added more¬†gold ochre and it’s given the whole piece a faded summer look.

Day 13: Red Gum Returns…

Red gum bush (watercolour)

Red gum bush (watercolour)


I’ve been looking through my previous experiments and examining the few blossoms that are still around on the Red Gum bushes and decided to give it another try.

One thing I haven’t managed to include so far are the distinctive long eucalyptus¬†leaves that this shrub has. Also, most of my previous efforts have missed the very fine, almost fluffy, aspect of the flower heads.

So, here we have the second wash of a new composition. The flowers are more delicate and tomorrow I need to think how to add some foliage.


Day 7: Yet more red gum


Red Gum watercolour



Today the Red Gum practice pieces received some more attention… one is a bit clearer than previous attempts, but the other is quite¬†messy¬†as a result of trying to add some blue shadows behind the flowers. The cleaner one unfortunately suffers from too heavy a red background and I’m¬†reluctant¬†to try & alter this after the other failed.

I’m not really happy with either – I think¬†I need to find some ‘back to basics’ exercises to learn to control the water/colour ratio of my strokes better. I think I’ll go & see what I can find along those lines for tomorrow….