20th Annual International American Society of Botanical Artists & The Horticultural Society of New York

Enduring Elegance - Fading Red Anemone Flower

Anemone coronaria 
For some years now I have had a fascination with depicting less than perfect botanical subjects, such as the dried red anemone flower in this exhibition. As flowers fade, the petals curl and become translucent and the veins become more prominent. The challenge for me lies in capturing and thereby celebrating this delicate elegance at a stage when the subject may otherwise be assigned to the compost heap.  
I purposefully staged the flower so that it was partially backlit. This was done in order to enhance the translucency of the petals, which I was keen to illustrate. The flower is painted larger than life in order to explore more fully details such as the stamens, hairs and veining and I cropped close into the flower so that there wouldn't be too much white paper on show. This was because the painting was originally commissioned for a step-by-step watercolour article in a British art magazine, so I wanted it to fill the page as much as possible with the image. 
I started by masking out the stamens and hairs (on the stem and back of petals) with masking fluid and a drawing nib. In this way, I can paint over these areas without having to work round the shapes or hairs. My first layers of watercolour are applied wet-in-wet aiming to create form on each petal right from the outset. I wet each shape with clear water then dab in colour where needed. Whilst the area is still wet, it is possible to add further paint or more colour around as needed. Once I am happy with the form on each part of the flower I will use drier techniques to build up areas or add detail. I tend to use a limited palette and for this painting I only used three Daniel Smith colours - Quinacridone Gold, Quinacridone Red and Phthalo Blue (Green Shade).
I hope this painting will encourage viewers to look more carefully at less than perfect leaves and flowers and to see that at every stage of life they can be aesthetically pleasing and something to celebrate.
Read more about this artist’s work: 19th Annual International
  • © 2017 Julia Trickey
    Enduring Elegance - Fading Red Anemone Flower
    Anemone coronaria
    Watercolor on paper
    8-1/2" x 8"