Sunday, 13 July 2014


At this time of the year the town of Perros is full of tourists and the hydrangeas everywhere are blooming to give them a visual treat.  The colours are fabulous ranging from all the blues to shades of red and purple. They gradually fade and some change completely to pale green or the lightest of blues.
I have a couple of lacecaps in the garden as well as some of the more common mopheads.  Somehow the lacecaps are more interesting to draw with their pretty star shaped flowers in the centre. I'm still working in sketchbook no 25 with the mi-tientes paper and using my beloved Museum watercolour pencils dry. The first layer I do after the pen drawing is the white to indicate all the light areas.  I've found that is the only way to get the lighter colours to stand out on this tinted paper.
Then I start with the blue crayon but still leaving some of the white exposed. A bit of green reminds me where the leaf is hiding under the flowers.
Next colour to go on is the periwinkle blue, a light mauve shade, and a bit of a darker blue too to make the flower centres pop.
I complete the leaves with a variety of green shades and add another one to balance the composition. Then a final touch up on the flowers and a border done in all the colours I used for the flowers and my sketch is finished. 
I posted this step by step on Artists Journal Workshop Facebook group page this week and was overwhelmed by the response. I received nearly 200 likes and about 50 comments, mainly I think because I invited feedback as to whether I should have added the border or not.  The consensus was that it was better with the border but I redrew the flower without just to see the difference which is the picture at the top of the blog.  It's now mounted on a pretty mauve card ready for my mother-in -law's birthday.
Then I thought , why not do another one on plain white paper?  I had to pick another flower, this time a bluer version so I can show you the difference in method. 
Unfortunately I uploaded the pictures in the wrong order so the first one comes last but I'm sure you can see the way it works.  On white paper I start with the darkest parts and build up to the light colours, a bit like watercolour painting.
I used Polychromos pencils for the drawing as they are lovely and smooth on this Bristol paper. The picture is finished with a Derwent blender pencil which is a bit like mixing paint colours, it blends them together on the paper. 
 I do hope you have enjoyed my insight into the way I work and would love to hear what you think, is the picture better with, or without the border?