It was like a crime scene: the beauty lay on the floor, mangled and broken; a mess of soil and tangle of roots lay about her. Alas, it was the amaryllis’s own radiance that did her in. Her blossoms grown so heavy atop the three-foot stalk that she tumbled off the table to the floor just two days after opening. Stricken in her prime— and while having her portrait painted!— I salvaged what I could, dissected one flower for study, and finished these pages.

I have spent the last month astonished by this plant, and now, am so grateful that I made time for these journal paintings before the fall (see the first painting here).
Tips and Techniques– Here are two very different approaches to painting flowers. In the first carefully-rendered ink drawing, I used a Micron pen (size 02), and then added a few layers of watercolor. I love the pen drawing for capturing the unfurling blossoms and twisted sepals. Once the flowers opened, I wanted a more exuberant approach, so I used layers of very loose washes, combining negative and positive painting techniques to bring out the flowers. I wish I had left more white or masked some white areas at the start, particularly for the stamens…notice how much more light-filled the tight drawing is, simply because I left more white. It’s good reminder for next time: let the paper play its part in the piece.

25 Comments on “Astonished

  1. Jean, I love how you show the contrast of these 2 techniques. I strive to paint in a looser style but detail is what I seem to enjoy.

  2. Stunning, Jean. Thank you for describing your two different approaches.

    • Hi Cheryl- Thanks. I’m glad I had a chance to approach it both ways. I did the initial bulb painting with a more detailed approach too and wanted to mirror that. But the flowers just seemed way too outrageous to render them tightly.

  3. Jean these are two beauties. I really loved your use of loose water color in the back round to create the canvas in which the blossom pops! I realize too, that I enjoy like seeing the pen/pencil lines of the artists work. Thanks for the breath of fresh air!

  4. ours did just the same thing. That’ll be four years in a row. I’ve asked my aunt to stop buying them for me as it depresses me every time they fall and break their neck. Poor flower.

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