Vivienne Cawson – Vibrancy in flowers – Watercolour
Pattern, colour and natural form are the focus for my floral watercolours. Inspiration is sparked by the colours and shapes of flowers, gorgeous fabric, a special jug or vase. The contrast of natural form with geometric pattern is often a strong element in my work.
I aim to produce a response in my painting that is fresh and contemporary, not merely a faithful reproduction and am inspired by the information set out before me to produce a spontaneous reaction. It is an exciting journey which I hope helps to keep my painting alive with fresh, vibrant colour.
Our first professional demonstrator for 2017, Christine Adams set the calendar off with a delightful splash of colour giving the illusion of a still life pot with flowers. With her easy style and humorous anecdotes we were in for an entertaining evening.
Christine uses Bockingford 140gm stretched in the bath, she likes painting large, the bigger the better. Her love of flowers came from feeling uncomfortable painting landscapes alone in the countryside, and by using real flowers the colour combinations could zing out with her impressionistic style. Using three reds, three yellows and three blues, she creates all the colours she needs and will only use Windsor & Newton because, she says, they are the best. Although she doesn’t like the new tubes because you can’t see what you have got – W&N take note!
A large blank canvas and a pot of flowers should be quite daunting when you don’t sketch out what you are painting, not so for Christine who likes to work flat at home in the studio, as she likes to see how the colours work with each other. For our benefit the work was upright and the composition progressed in sections, wetting the paper with a sponge as she worked and using a large part sable brush, paint was applied capturing the general feel of where flowers would be placed. The composition was as much about where the paint fell and how it looked and the still life merely used as a guide.
There were plenty of tips along the way, like when using blues in the painting they come forward and for foliage which was meant to be behind it didn’t look right, so tone them back. Also when painting the centre of a flower (say) in a bolder colour, don’t use the same colour as a shadow as it just looks like another flower centre.
Christine painted a fabulously colourful still life, creating the illusion of flowers, giving us all the inspiration to have a go. Thank you Christine, what a great start to the year.
PS. If you feel uncomfortable about going out into the landscape to paint on your own, then join the Walk and Draw group on Tuesday mornings, get some fresh air and sketch along the way.