"Art is the only way to run away without leaving home" (Twyla Tharp)

SBA Distance Course - Page of Flowers

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Completing this page was a marathon .. of choice.  Even though it's winter in Australia - there were still reasonable options for this assignment - a page of seven flowers, showing little stem and no leaves.  We were asked to show a broad range of flower types and colours.  You'd think this would be easier, with all that colour and variety, however it was exhausting doing all the colour testing to match and I painted quite a few flowers before I ran out of time and had to get on with commencing the final page.

 This is my colour chart so far - big difference from the six colours I used for two years!  Spoilt for choice perhaps, but it's difficult to get the right colour for a flower so I'm glad I was limited to six when I first started painting - I learnt colour mixing to achieve better results.  Even so, in many cases it dries very differently! 

I started by painting a Flowering Quince which grows beside our house.  It's been there for years and only recently started flowering.  The second flower is a Dipladenia from the garden and I really enjoyed painting both of them.

The next flower I had some trouble with.  The Tree Dahlia  was down at the local garden centre - so I made sketches, tonal studies, paint swatches and took photos as reference.  I had an accident with the watercolour on the flower and spent a lot of time trying to fix it but ended up with a very washed out dahlia.  I  added back washes of colour and while I was disappointed I wasn't prepared to start the page all over again!

I continued from there to try and make the deadline - the next flower was a lovely daisy type - Arctotis - and I had trial runs with it but struggled with foreshortening and light and shade.  For once I stepped away before I overworked it and was happy with the result.

 Painting the Vinca minor and trying to match the periwinkle blue was difficult as the real flower kept deepening in colour as I painted. 
Following this, a Camellia and as I was losing time, the final flower was a little pink Oxalis.  While it seems an insignificant flower I remember liking them on the farm - although considered a weed, I thought it was pretty, particularly when it may be the only thing flowering!

When I stepped back and saw the painting with new eyes, I was quite surprised by how bold it was!  I would usually stretch the painting on completion as I work with wet on wet washes and the paper is quite buckled.  At this point there was no time left - so I took a few quick photos and off it went to the UK......


  1. Hi Vicki, it's very very nice to meet you, your botanical art is beautiful and I'm following your blog.. I've got a soft spot for botanical art.. hope to read and see your posts very soon..

  2. ..and thanks for the videos showing Rosie Sanders' work.. truly fascinating

  3. You are welcome Matteo - love your blog and style too ...

  4. Congratulations Vicki! The process sounds exhausting, but the result looks wonderful - really eye-catching!!

  5. Thanks Hedera - it's good to move on to something new!