Susanne’s garden

Painting reds is difficult for me. Last week I painted some poppies, but I started too dark (too much pure red on the brush) and then had nowhere too go. Literally painted myself into a corner. Today I had a chance to try again in Susanne’s garden where the poppies are still in bloom. This time I started with lighter washes and built up to the darkest reds, using a combination of Transparent Pyrrol Orange, Cadmium Red and Alizarin Crimson. The centres of the flowers work best when you paint them while the red is still wet, so I mixed some fresh Ultramarine Blue into the red and added it on quite thickly so it wouldn’t spread too much. Painted on Saunders Waterford CP, 22″ x 15″.

SusannesGarden

 


71 Comments on “Susanne’s garden”

  1. Dml says:

    HI Shari! I recently tried to paint the poppies in my own garden and had trouble capturing that transparent red. I will make a second attempt and try out your suggestions. Thanks for the help!

  2. Mary says:

    You’ve done it again, Shari – took my breath away when I opened your email! I actually exclaimed out loud! This is absolutely stunning!

    Some questions: what is the sequence – still such a challenge for me. How much drawing did you do first? And can you please say something about creating your greens. Thanks so much.

    • HI Mary, Wow, thanks for this! I was quite happy with how this came out, and I don’t say that often.
      For this painting, there are very few pencil line. I just sketched in the placement and size of the flowers first and then went directly to paint. I really wanted to focus on the colour and shape of the flowers so I did that first. Then I painted the green and yellow areas around them.
      As for the greens, I used Hansa Yellow Light, Cerulean Blue and Phthalo Blue (green shade) for the greens. I find that a TINY bit of Phthalo works well in achieving very nice greens. And it makes great dark greens too. But be careful because it can be quite strong if you are not careful.
      Shari

  3. TonyU says:

    Beautiful … and it must look even better full size!

  4. Stunning! Love the subtle shade differences in the poppies. This is probably my favorite painting of yours so far!!!

  5. i’ve got to stop looking at your work and spend more time painting. Only then i’d miss your commentary and i learn so much from it. This is a lovely painting of poppies in the sun.

  6. Dottie Aiken says:

    Love this. Would you share about your greens? I’m green impaired.

    • Hi Dottie,
      Thanks so much for writing. Sure I can share the green recipe:
      For the greens, I used Hansa Yellow Light, Cerulean Blue and Phthalo Blue (green shade) for the greens. I find that a TINY bit of Phthalo works well in achieving very nice greens. And it makes great dark greens too. But be careful because it can be quite strong if you are not careful.
      Shari

  7. Evelyn John says:

    Ditto on “a magic moment with holly” comments. I too need to do more painting but also thoroughly enjoy your posts. Love the fresh bright sunshine feeling you captured in the poppies.

  8. Chris Rusk says:

    Well done!

    Whether printing ink or paint, or maybe it is just my imagination… I find any red pigment opaque-like & ‘thickish’ in viscosity (I am exagerating, in watercolours these ideas are subtle); and anything blue-based very transparent & thin in comparison.

    You made me remember the poppies I saw recently in a front yard garden in Old Ottawa South. Yours are very real and I can appreciate how well you ‘formed’ your reds. Very beautiful πŸ™‚

    • HI Chris,
      Yes, I find the same thing with most reds, which is why I had to paint the poppies twice. I think I need to practice more but I did learn a lot on this one. Many red pigments are opaque (like Cadmium red) which is why they are so difficult but the ones I used are more transparent. HOpe you’re well!

  9. Jane Pfeiffer says:

    Very pretty! I’m green challenged. Would you share some tips on greens.

    • HI Jane,
      For the greens, I used Hansa Yellow Light, Cerulean Blue and Phthalo Blue (green shade) for the greens. I find that a TINY bit of Phthalo works well in achieving very nice greens. And it makes great dark greens too. But be careful because it can be quite strong if you are not careful.
      Shari

  10. nsgoldberg says:

    Beautiful!

  11. Bernadette says:

    I get overwhelmed when trying to paint a garden. It’s hard for me to organize what I see into a pleasing design. Your painting is so impressive, fresh and uncomplicated. Did you begin with the poppies then move on to the greens? Love the splash of yellow. Beautiful work. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thanks so much Bernadette. I started with the flowers on this one and then painted the greens around them. I really wanted to get the flower shapes right so that’s why I began that way. It turned out to be a good way to work.

  12. joanne ross says:

    Shari, I agree with the many comments above and especially with Bernadette on all points. I wonder if you ever post your failures occasionally. It might be helpful to see your first attempt as well as this totally lovely one.

  13. Linda Murray says:

    Quite lovely, Shari. I’m following on the heels of Bernadette. There is so much going on in a garden with all the flowers and foliage. How do you get all this down without “muddying” up the painting? I would have a big mess that all runs together. I do love the centers of your flowers. Thanks for any help! 😊

    • Hi Linda,
      The trick to avoiding muddiness is letting the paint dry fully before going back into areas. If you go back into an area that is semi-wet the colours will blend and get dirty. Also washing your brush often in clear water helps!

  14. Dee Ludwg says:

    Perfect!

  15. Suzanne says:

    This painting would make for a beautiful duvet cover! I currently have a Bluebell Grey watercolour duvet cover and while I love it, I would quickly change for one with this artwork, Shari. This painting is just beautiful!

  16. Absolutly beautiful! I have no idea how you do it. I couldn’t paint/watercolor for my life!

  17. blindloveweb says:

    Aww damn beautiful….

  18. I love the california poppy

  19. rosjenke says:

    Sublime ❀️

  20. Serenity says:

    Beautiful work! : )

  21. wingsoflight says:

    Amazing work utterly beautiful

  22. Janine says:

    Totally beautiful! I look forward to the play by play on how you actually painted it. Transparent Pyrrol Orange is an amazing color!

    • Hi Janine,
      Here is the reply I sent to everyone who wanted to know the process for how this was painted:
      For this painting, there are very few pencil lines. I just sketched in the placement and size of the flowers first and then went directly to paint. I really wanted to focus on the colour and shape of the flowers so I did that first. Then I painted the green and yellow areas around them.
      As for the greens, I used Hansa Yellow Light, Cerulean Blue and Phthalo Blue (green shade) for the greens. I find that a TINY bit of Phthalo works well in achieving very nice greens. And it makes great dark greens too. But be careful because it can be quite strong if you are not careful.
      Shari

  23. So incredibly gorgeous!! Had to pop in and rave! Still smiling… the reds are perfect and I can feel the breeze and the sun. You captured more than flowers… you’ve captured that perfect moment. Brilliant! Love it! 😍

  24. CRayArtMusic says:

    This is a great piece

  25. Monique says:

    You inspired me to go out and paint my poppies yesterday:) After I saw your IG post.

    I loved doing it..Thank you:)
    This one is stunning..
    I want to try that paper one day.
    πŸ™‚

  26. Monique says:

    Ultramarine..awww…..

  27. really gorgeous. what fascinates me is how you had the poppies wet enough that the dark centers spread into the color of the petals at the back, but that front petal is crisply cut out. That’s really beautifully done!

  28. This is beautiful! I’m not sure, did you use acrylics or water color?

  29. Beautiful!!! I was curious to see what colors you were using for the reds of the poppies. I just bought a tube of DS carmine. I’m never really happy with my reds. Your light areas really make this sing!

    • Hi Joan,
      Carmine is a beautiful colour and I sometimes use it instead of Alizarin Crimson. I would use it only in the darkest areas of the poppies though. Thanks for writing!

  30. in says:

    Poppies! Great use of reds.

  31. Nour_ says:

    This helped me in my digital painting too! Beautiful work..!

  32. hilda5462 says:

    Lovely poppies, Shari – the delicateness and insubstantiality of them is well suited to water colours in your expert hand, anyway! Makes me want to have a go myself! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

    • Thanks so much for taking the time to send me a note Hilda. I love painting poppies but the season is too short. I also take lots of photos in case I am in the mood to paint them during the dark days of winter.

      • hilda5462 says:

        You’re welcome! I love poppies mainly because of that Remembrance day poem, “In Flanders Fields” (John McCrae) I have tried to paint them in acrylics, several times, but, I’m not satisfied with the result…yours just seem so much nicer – I think it’s the translucent nature of water colours, maybe?


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