Sunday, 17 July 2016

“Pushing and Shoving” with Rose Petals in Watercolour

This week my explorations with flower petals continued.  I was aiming for subtlety in tone, delicacy, fragility and that ephemeral thing that flowers are all about. 

Of all the watercolour techniques I know the one I call “pushing and shoving” is perhaps the most difficult process to achieve especially when delicacy is the objective.  It very much relies on timing, patience and strong will power to hold back until the right moment to go in and add more pigment.  Learning to read the changing stages of water drying on the paper is vital.  Too early in adding too weak a pigment strength creates nothing more than a flood of similar toned wash.  The key with this is to build tone in the right places, at the right time, with the right strength of pigment.  Patience is definitely a virtue with this technique.    

Compositionally I was aiming for an abstract of delicate layered washes.  The white of the paper is the first layer of tone.  Sorry photos are not the best but they are adequate enough to get the idea.  

*     *     *     *     *

Opinions about my watercolours are always interesting to hear.  Though after all these years I have learnt to take all of them with a pinch of salt.  I remember a few years ago an elderly gentleman who thought he knew a thing or three about art advised me not to leave white paper areas in my watercolour paintings.  I questioned him further about his comment, only to learn that he was basing his opinion on his collection of oil paintings that he had collected over the years.  At that point I politely said to him:  “Yes I will remember that in future.”   In my head I was thinking: “Yes I will remember in future that this guy has no idea what art is all about and he still regards himself as an art critic.”   I have found that everyone is an art critic in this crazy world.  The most amusing and memorable ones are the ones who have no idea what they are talking about.


  1. I am pretty new to the world of watercolor, have done some acrylics and oils in the past, which were ok. When I read your post, I thought can be done!I have been trying to get this look, without any success. Yours are just beautiful, and have inspired me to keep trying. Pushing and shoving, thanks so much for sharing..

    1. Thanks for dropping by Bonnie. I know exactly how you feel because it took me a very long time to learn this technique properly. Keep learning new techniques and practicing. Eventually the knowledge will click into place and instinct will take over. If I can do this anyone can but a large amount of determination to succeed is required. Good Luck.

  2. Laura you have really captured the delicacy in these rose petals. The blend of colors is wonderful. Makes me want to experiment with you. Yes the white of the paper in my humble opinion is what makes watercolors sparkle. Have a great week friend.

  3. You are really blending the colors so subtly in the petals. You are correct that it is all in the timing. Each stage of dryness gets a different effect. I laughed at the man's comments about the white of the paper...something we strive to keep. :)

  4. Gorgeous, very soft colours!

  5. Laura these petals are so beautiful and delicate. Men! I have picked up my watercolors again and am having another go at playing and practicing because that's what it takes to improve:)


Please feel free to contact me with any enquiries regarding my artwork. Thank you for taking an interest in my art.