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

Moving right along ...

  In my last entry here I showed all the photos chosen for the assignment Working from Photographs.  I've gathered all those pics and started to play with composition.  This involved cutting up copies of photos and placing them on the artwork size page to see what might look pleasing.

The winning layout ...

Once I was reasonably happy with the composition I went on to draw all the elements using my photographs as reference material.   After the drawings were completed I transferred them to tracing paper, cut each one out and placed them on the artwork paper to ensure it would fit the space well before transferring onto the watercolour paper.

First rose head washes ...

 On to the best part ... painting.
I get a little nervous up until this point as to what it will look like and spend hours on the composition and drawings.  Once it's on the paper the road map is done and I can enjoy bringing the colour in.

It was a challenge to paint the flower heads of the Pierre de Ronsard.
I think any rose is difficult  and this is a very complicated cabbage style rose with so many layers of petals from deepest carmine and pink in the centre out to soft white and limey green tinges in the outer petals.  Shadow colours on such a distinctive rose are very subtle ...

Bringing in the architectural elements ...

I then started on the French-style rustic stone elements - the bird bath from home that I mentioned in my last post ... and soft washes to depict a stone archway ...

The architectural elements are to be done in a neutral watercolour palette ... the Pierre de Ronsard rose is not a bold colour and as I am including many other elements to the painting I don't want my featured botanical subject to be overwhelmed.    Neutral colours and scrolly 
  ironwork to me epitomise the age old appeal of French vintage chic.

Still more to come.
  I will show the finished greeting card in my next post ... thanks for joining me ...

All images and artwork copyright © Vicki Lee Johnston 2012


  1. Beautiful! You are such a great talent! I love the shades of pink! And of course, the layout that you created.

  2. It will be ''merveilleux''. I really love it!

  3. This looks painstaking to me, and like it will be exquisite when finished.

    You might enjoy Googling "Fred Deux." He is French, and while his art is nothing like yours (he was actually part of the later French surrealist movement; his work spans late 1940s into the milllennium, I believe) - his mastery of extraordinary detailed line might interest you.

    His work ranges from fanciful to macabre, but it's amazing. (You'll find a few wonderful videos on youtube with his work, with closeups, narrated (in French) by his gallerist. You don't need to understand French to enjoy.

    Looking forward to seeing this completed!

    1. Thanks BLW ... will take a look.
      I'm looking forward to the completed work too :)

  4. Each time I see your water colours they take my breath away Vicki, what an amazing talent you have. I love all of the elements you've chosen for this project, j'adore Paris with a passion and la Tour Eiffel will make a wonderful focal point. The Pierre de Ronsard rose is too beautiful, looking forward to seeing the finished card.
    p.s. you were right the kangaroos were taken at Pinnaroo, it's such fun to see their antics!

  5. Thank you Grace ... (beautiful name by the way) ...
    Yes as you can see I miss Paris and France after my only visit ... I must have been French in a former life ...
    Finished card not too far away thankfully.
    I love Pinnaroo - it is very dear to my heart - you have struck a chord twice. I posted about it here

    1. My Mum and Dad are both at Pinnaroo Vicki, that's why Aimee and I like to walk there, we always pop by and say hello..such a beautiful spot.

    2. It certainly is a special place for us to spend time xx

  6. Great to see the process Vicki - so inspiring and so very French. It has that French elegance about it. I really hope you get a good mark for all this work. I don't know how you did those roses - they look so complicated!

    1. I hope so too Jess .. complicated yes but kind of relaxing .... xxx

  7. Those roses look absolutely delectable, Vicki Lee. This is such exquisite work.

  8. HI Vicki, this is gorgeous. those roses are so delicate and just beautiful. Your design is lovely. so very inspiring and beautiful work. love to you,Diana