Today I decided to illustrate some white flowers after reading a section dedicated to them in a fantastic botanical illustration study book I bought at the Gallery of NSW a couple of months ago.
White flowers have always presented a challenge to me and other artists alike – it is quickly easy to over saturate them with opacity and make them look daft. In ‘Watercolour Flower Portraits’ Billy Showell discusses the importance of translucency and washes in illustrating more natural white flowers excellently with step by step photos, relatable and easy to understand discussion and a swatches of different shades of shadows to base off.
A few of the flowers I illustrated directly from a little posy I bought myself yesterday from my local florist, however I decided to imitate some of Showell’s illustrations also to learn technique and more of her process. I always feel slightly opposed in myself when it comes to imitation – and I remind myself that many of the greatest painters learned through this strategy, and although in recent years with crediting or lack there of on the internet it has become frowned upon, it is still a wonderful method to learn from other artist’s processes!
I struggled at first with the round flower from my posy which I think is noticeable it was the first, but I did pick up using warm and cool shading to imitate the natural sunlight filtering into my study. I found it a lot easier to find my bearings once I stopped being so loose (which is normally the contrary for me) and actually lay down a very light, fine sketch first.
All in all, it has been an eye opening study with the help of the book and practical application, and has definitely shed a little light (pun intended) on my techniques not just for the difficult white flowers, but for further colour flower illustration in the future!