“Wildflowers by The Sea”
This painting was inspired by Britains beautiful coastline and the combination of sandy beaches, dunes and our colourful native wildflowers. I wanted this to be a calming painting after the trauma of recent times so chose a pastel colour palette and created a breathtaking sky that would give a sense of peace.
I produced this painting using a combination of professional quality acrylic and oil based paints on a stretched canvas so it will remain in perfect condition for many years to come. My main colour palette was Titanium White, Lemon Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Ultramarine Blue and Quinacridone Magenta with the odd touch of Pyrole Orange and Mars Black. We chose a bespoke frame in white to give a modern contemporary feel and make the colours sing, I hope it will give you as much pleasure to view as it gave me to paint.
Step by Step
Before starting the painting I first prepared the edges of the canvas. Although I knew that we would be framing this piece I wanted them to be crisp and clean to give a ‘finished’ edge to the canvas. I mixed a very pale cream acrylic shade that would work with the frame.
I don’t usually do any pre-drawing on a canvas, I go straight in with paint. This is because I spend a lot of time pre-planning, visualising the completed painting in my head and working through images that I’ve recorded before I start. I did, however apply a piece of masking tape to give me a straight and horizontal horizon line out to sea. I always start with the sky and then work down the painting. I kept the colours paler to emphasise the distance and stronger in the foreground. For ‘Wildflowers by The Sea’ I wanted the sky to be very dramatic, it’s a large canvas and I wanted a real ‘Wow Factor’ to balance out the strength and size of the flowers that I would be applying to the foreground.
I didn’t move on to painting the sea until I was happy with the sky as I find it easier to get the colour strength correct that way. I used a flat brush for the sea, pulling it across the painting in horizontal strokes balancing out the sky and reflecting the same colours.
I often split the canvas into thirds as this gives a good composition, once I reached the shoreline I painted in the land, mixing colours which would show a gentle merging of sea and sand. I always ensure that a painting is not too symmetrical so vary the slope of the land. I also like to use stronger colours the lower down the canvas that I go, this anchors the eye when viewing the completed picture.
Once the foreground was dry I started working on the grasses, I used ‘swordliner’ and ‘rigger’ brushes for this and built and built on them until I had reach the desired effect. I was looking for a good mix of lights and darks and I wanted to make them slightly see-through so that you feel you could walk through them and into the painting – in this case for a paddle!
At this point I left the painting until it was completely dry so that I could hang it and double check that every part of the painting worked in harmony with the other.
I then moved onto the flowers, flicking the paint and also carefully placing it. I masked out the areas where I did not want the paint to land as it does have a habit of going everywhere! This process can take several weeks as I let areas dry and build the painting. I used a combination of brushes and pointed implements. I dropped colours into each other pulling out patterns to create unique and abstract flowers. I am always balancing the colours and tones as I work. I could never plan this stage in advance, it’s a very organic process using my intuition to get the colours to harmonise with each other. The final step was the addition of transparent mediums to create extra texture and shine.
Once I think a painting is finished we will always hang it up in our house for a while and “live with it “ourselves. That way I can tell whether I need to adjust anything before offering it for sale.
The finished Piece!
Framing is unique to every painting. “Wildflowers by The Sea “is contained in a contemporary white “tray frame “. This makes the colours sing and enhances the finished pieces whilst not detracting from the painting itself.