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Planning Retirement Online

Handicrafts in later life                     September 2006





Paint this fabulous clematis with step by step instructions by Janet Whittle


Painting is like a journey which never brings you to a final destination. There is always something you have not yet painted, or a different colour or medium to try. The possible variations are endless, which is why I find it so exciting: it has kept me enthralled for twenty years.

Throughout my painting career, flowers have been one of my main inspirations. I never fail to be enchanted by the variety of colours and shapes, and the sheer perfection as the bud slowly unfolds to reveal the flower.

As a painter, I have the freedom to portray them as I wish, using my imagination to change or combine colours and background tones.

I find the effects of sunlight and shadow magical. They can add an extra dimension to any painting, bringing out the colours, form and depth. I believe that it is only when you paint that you learn to observe closely enough to discover the significance of different light effects. Every flower or plant is unique, and will respond to different techniques in different ways.

Here is one of my favourite projects from my book Painting Flowers & Plants. I hope you find it useful and enjoyable and if you go on to buy my book, I hope it will help you on your journey to improve your paintings.

Janet Whittle



I used photographs from my archive to plan the composition and produce an outline sketch.



The project is carried out in just four stages: putting in the background; masking the stamens of the flowers (which can be done with a small brush or even a cocktail stick); using negative painting to bring out the detail and putting in the petals wet-in-wet. The colour of the flower has been used in the background to suggest more out-of-focus blooms and buds. Pink is a delicate colour, and to make it more vibrant I have left sunlit areas of white to counterchange the background against it.




The finished picture
Size: 55 x 38cm (21? x 15in)



These lovely flowers come in an enormous variety of shapes and hues, so you can change the colours to suit yourself.


Watercolour paper 640gsm (300lb)
3B pencil
Masking fluid and old brush
Round brush No. 6
Rigger No. 3
Large wash brush
Watercolour paints: I used permanent rose; cobalt blue; Winsor blue; viridian; lemon yellow; burnt umber; magenta and sap green


Before you begin, mix up the main colours you will use:

1. Permanent rose and lemon yellow
2. Permanent rose
3. Sap green
4. Cobalt blue
5. Viridian and Winsor blue
6. Viridian and burnt umber
7. Permanent rose and magenta



1. Using the large brush, dampen the paper up to the pencilled outlines of the flowers and put in the background, using permanent rose and lemon yellow; permanent rose; sap green, and touches of viridian and Winsor blue. Tip to merge the colours and leave to dry.


2. Using the No. 6 brush, paint in negative to bring out the leaves and buds using the viridian and burnt umber mix. Leave to dry. Remove the masking fluid at the edges of the flowers, but leave the stamen masked.




3. Wet the white area and paint in the petals wet-in-wet, with the mix of permanent rose. Use a small (No.3) rigger to drop in a darker mix of permanent rose and magenta. Leave areas of white paper to counterchange against the background.




4. Rub off the masking fluid on the stamen and use a pale wash of lemon yellow to push back some of the white. With the small rigger brush, paint in the tips of the stamens using burnt umber and alizarin crimson. With the cobalt blue and a small rigger brush, add very fine veins to the centre of some of the petals.



The finished painting


Extract taken from Painting Flowers & Plants by Janet Whittle rrp ?9.99, published by Search Press Ltd
Later life viewers can buy a copy at the special offer price of ?8.99 plus free postage in the UK, by calling Search Press on Tel 01892 510 850 quoting

Previous editions in this series:

Edition 1 Tea Bag Folding

Edition 2 Celtic knots

Edition 3 Crochet this fabulous colourful bag

Edition 4 Paint this fabulous Clematis



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