This exercise needs a little explanation. I was in France when I was wanting to work on the course. The beloved scruffy house is our bolt hole from Bahrain, complete tranquility and rest. It is an area rich in greens and blues, and reds, even with the occasional sunflower outside of the village. Our house is the inspiration for my blog name, volets lavandes, and I find different sources of inspiration each time I visit.



I have tried ways of sketching the kitchen doors over several years, but this time I used inktense pencils and I find the colour is more successful. I think the shades and tones have more impact than in the past. The colours for the walls is too yellow, but it is a closer interpretation for me.  As a result, it has been the basis for whatever I chose to do on this Exercise 4, developing and practising. A walk in the again scruffy weedful garden led to the peony bush in full bloom. I picked one and brought it into the kitchen to see what I could do with it. I worked in the evening by less than bright light, and found that the textures of the petals were not strongly defined, but the colours were enticing and the overall shape, balance of light/dark, positive and negative space, reflection and shades had the strongest impact.



I placed it on the blue paper tablecloth because I wanted to see how the red/purple of the flower and the greens of the leaves would impact on the blue in shadow and which colours would be revealed from this.  I had to work quickly as the flower would lose its bloom with no water.

Aquagraphite pencils


I found that the outline was very strong, separating the colour blocks. The textures of the flower were difficult to show, because I actually could not easily separate the petals in my view line. but I could see shades and blocks, lines.The lines in the leaves were lighter than the background, but my pencil picked them up darker. Consequently in other studies, those dark lines appear dominantly, even in the small study on silk painting!

Colour Study Using Ink Pencils and Water


I used my view finder to focus on the bottom left section of the peony. I started by seeing reds and purples  but as I looked and stared for longer, blues, reds, yellows and oranges started to appear, even white. It made me question what my eyes were reflecting. Interesting to stare so intently and to consider how the colours change and move in juxtaposition with eachother, creating colours a quick glance would not reveal.  I enjoy doing a colour study this way, it is creative and developing.


Colour Study Using Oil Pastels and Gouache



Challenging myself to use paints, I used oil pastels to give a resist effect, and thus to give some texture to the colour impact. I did google how other artists have painted peonies, but I will confess that I was not inspired to copy, and really what I was doing here was to explore how I saw the colour. It was not distinct in patches, but rather an impression was given by the shading and impact of the pastels. It could be regarded as messy (a comment from a friend) but actually I like the impact and find it a strong reflection of what I was seeing. And of course, the aesthetics of a vibrant blue emboldens the whole sketch. White would have been easy, and I didn’t want that.


Impact of the Peony and the Lavender Blue Shutters




I found a poem by Amanda Cooper (no relation!) about  a woman walking through weedfilled garden in early morning, steaming cup in hand. The poem develops quite nostalgic and mournfully. The images matched my own experiences, but the development of the poem content was too melancholic for my own feelings when in my garden. However, it led me to want to reflect on the contrasts of the peony, fuchsia purple, and the soft tones of the dawn, and the lavenders of the shutters.  I do not usually do an ‘art journal’ page, but I wanted to mix the colours and see them rollered onto paper.


I then followed it with just an flow of these colours across a page, no definition just moving colours:




Again, this is a little messy but I am not going to discard it as I can see how this could be a beautiful start to tie dieing or batik in fabric. Maybe a project for later on.