In praise of peonies

For the last two weeks my mind was preoccupied with the thoughts of drawing the luscious peonies from Blacker & Moore.
Pink peony
Peonies were always one of my favourite flowers. I love how delicate the petals are and yet how opulent and substantial the whole flower is.  However, unlike multi-drawn-sketched-painted tulips, I never thought of sketching the peonies before.
Watercolour sketch of peony
This was the first watercolour sketch I attempted – it became as much the study in patience and perseverance as the study of the flower’s beauty. My son woke up from his nap as I finished doing the pencil outline & by evening, when I finally had the time to paint again, the flower closed and I decided to do a different sketch leaving the finishing of this one for the following day.
Watercolour sketch of peony
During the second attempt to finish the first sketch I just done the initial pale wash and was adding darker colours into still wet surface, when my son yet again woke up from his nap forcing me to abandon the sketch to the unsupervised drying and some of the orange colour spread from the middle of the flower to the areas that I wanted to keep light. By my third attempt the flower I was sketching changed its shape and colour, so I had to improvise and work around the placement of already dried colours.
I managed to do another watercolour sketch during the first week before the petals started falling off.
Watercolour sketcy of peony
I loved watching the peonies turn from bright pink to salmon and then to a very pale yellow – almost white. In a way these sketches are a good representation of that change over one week. I wish I had more time – this week I only managed to do some quick pen and one longer pencil sketch of the flowers. I’m hoping there will be another week or two of painting the gorgeous peonies before their short flowering season is over.

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