I recently finished a wild rose painting. The very first watercolor flower I ever painted was a wild rose, but I wanted to do one that was from my own photography because we have a ton of wild roses around our property. So, this summer I went looking for wild roses with my camera. I am not a photographer. If my oldest daughter had been here, I would have had her taking the pictures. She would have loved the assignment and has a great eye for composition. But it was up to me. There was plenty of roses to choose from, and I figured if I got a lot of pictures at least one of them would probably work, or I could combine several to make up one. Fortunately, I got several that would work. That’s one thing I love about digital cameras, you can take 100 pictures and then delete the many that didn’t work and only save the ones that you like best. The really nice thing about having a great picture is that it’s inspiring to paint, even if you hadn’t anticipated painting that subject matter.
I started this painting a while ago, the roses bloom in early June. But it took me until the middle of July to finish the painting because it’s summer, and I would rather be outside in my garden or hiking or anything except sitting inside doing anything, even painting! But, when the weather isn’t great, or late at night, I enjoy painting. It relaxes me and helps me sleep better anyway.
I use transparent watercolor when I paint, rarely do I use gouache paint which is not transparent, or only semitransparent. I like the transparent color because you can add a shadow color and then go over it with a bright transparent color and then shadow colors show through. Or you can lay down one color, like an orange, and then go over it with a red or yellow, and it totally changes the color and feel of the painting, whereas gouache often just covers the color beneath. This painting was a lot of layering, lighter colors getting darker and darker, but keeping spots of lighter color as I went along.
I love the depth of color that can be achieved through this layering process, and I love the finished product. This was a fun project, and I enjoyed the complete start to finish of taking my own reference photo to the finished painting. I love getting out in nature, and I am so grateful for the beautiful world that we live in.