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A New Mini Tutorial for Spring, Fritillaria meleagris: A study in colour and technique

One of my all time favourite flowers is the Snake-Head Fritillary, Fritillaria meleagris, and I've painted it many times! So, this year I decided that it was time to make a mini tutorial to demonstrate how to paint this challenging little flower. It has a lot of variation within the flower and between flowers and likes to task the painter.

The tutorial is available from the 20th March and covers a good deal of infornmation related to approach and technique.

Colour can be difficult in this little flower and like all colour matching, it's not just about matching a basic hue (that means finding the main colour or colours of the subject) we've all seen colour charts or bits of paper with a swatch or two that looks broadly the same as the flower.... yet when using this approach the painting can lack vibrance and that because the basic hue is only part if the story.

For me painting is all about light, and the way that light interacts with colour and changes it, light can make a colour cooler where light hits the subject, more saturated in other areas or warmer and darker in the shade. setting up and positioning the subject is key at the outset.

By mixing with a primary palette these colours can be shifted from cool to warm that's what's explained and demonstrated in this tutorial. Then of course there's technique, dilution and saturation of the paint to achieve the desired effects the tonal variations, wet and dry techniques are not isolated and there are many variations in between, selective application and dry in damp are two approaches that I use a lot, rather than watery washes which can so easily result in lost highlights and a dull finish and fuzzy edges -as too much paint is sucked into the paper.

Controlling water and paint ratios is an important part of the story in a painting in watercolours, also underlying colour and form and finally the pattern and maybe a glaze... it's all in this flower! I could go on.... and do in the tutorial, which has 3 hours of video, and also includes the construction of the drawing, a colour mixing study page, with a petal practice, an open flower and a bud with simple leaves. The colour study demonstrates the palette, hues, various colour shifts and all important underlying colours.

The tutorial is available now on the website for £20 and you will retain access for 12 months.

Here are just a few of my Fritillaria meleagris paintings, painted over the years ....they're such elegant flowers and I just love those curves and patterns.

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