Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Karma Camellia

Work in progress on a camellia bud and leaves

"The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, 

the human soul is apt to revive also". 

Harriet Ann Jacobs

Camellia buds are particularly welcome at this time of year when there are fewer exuberant flowers to paint. The first time I painted a camellia bud was a few years ago for one of my portfolio pieces for my SBA diploma. The brief was to place a variety of subjects into one painting creating a mixed composition.

The composition of the mixed study I chose was to focus on a selection of hedgerow plants I foraged from a nearby hedge, along with a couple of extras from the garden. Prunus berries, Garrya tassels, rosehips, hazel catkins and camellia buds all featured, with some being more dominant than others.

Although it would have been lovely to paint a fully open camellia flower, the buds were reluctant to open, so I just went with a semi-open flower. Looking back on it I quite like the spartan quality of small details against the larger leaves. Of course I would do this piece much differently now and have steered away from mixed pieces. One to look back on.   

My favourite camellia buds and luscious green leaves

The full piece with five species from a winter hedgerow

Some of the same winter elements used again for a sketchbook study page
With my camellia looking rather resplendent with buds galorein the garden, I decided to use one as a demonstration piece for my first demo to the Portsmouth and Hampshire Art Society. Having started the drawing and colour chart beforehand, a lively evening ensued with lots of questions and a wonderfully warm welcome from the 40 odd that had gathered, (there may have been more, the room was packed).

It's difficult to cover as much as you would like during a two hour evening demo, so after introducing the botanical basics of accuracy and the technique of wet-in-wet washes, it was onto some details and dry brush. That half time tea-break was most welcome, and the enthusiasm of the group, particularly at 8pm on a Tuesday evening was inspiring. The painting didn't look too bad and was taking shape nicely, so the group could see elements of how it would come together. Having promised that I would finish the piece and get a scan of the result to them in due course, it was time to get back to the studio and get on with it.   

Going for the green
French Ultramarine, Sennelier Yellow Light and Perylene Maroon are the main colours used here

For the bud
Opera Rose, Permanent Rose, Anthraquinoid Red and Perylene Maroon were all used in parts

Working back in the studio

The colour chart on the right of the piece was completed for the demo and helped out enormously

The bud finished and right leaf done
The deep shadow of the bud against the leaf gives a bit more oomph!

Time to finish that left hand leaf 

My favourite nibbled bits

"Sweet April showers do spring May flowers".

Thomas Tusser

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