Wash Challenge, week five – Sunflowers

Little Gem No. 10

Little Gem No. 10

Last Sunday I was wandering through Facebook, as you do, and came across a great demonstration of sunflowers by Birgit O’Connor, shared for Mother’s Day.

I discovered Birgit’s work some years ago. It was through her online videos that I began to see that watercolour wasn’t so scary and how it could be controlled. Her extreme close up flowers are stunning…

Anyway, I was inspired… it was a perfect exercise for a lazy Sunday afternoon, so I watched the video and then tried a few sunflowers for myself. Here are the results, using Indian Yellow, Indanthrene Blue, Quinachridone Dark Orange and Quinachridone Purple.

Little Gem No.11

Little Gem No.11

I’m always a bit impatient when it comes to loose painting, there’s a sense of urgency with wet paint and I feel I have to keep going until it looks right. Of course this generally results in a soggy mess – too much water, muddy colours and buckling paper.

So it was great to see Birgit using layers even in this really simple example, and the result are still loose. It was also a timely reminder that most paintings will go through a stage where they look pretty awful. Then you let them dry, add a little more, and they get better again.

These two both have a couple of layers. The second painting, the single sunflower, was completed much wetter but without my usual haste (panic 😛 ).

The session was a great exercise in patience, and although they would both be improved with a bit more detail I’m really pleased with the results!

 

If you’re interested in finding out more about Birgit O’Connor she also has her own Youtube channel with lots of demonstrations.