Bulbous Plants · Perennials · Plant Choices

The Bluebell – © Tina Bone

Watercolour completed 3rd July 2017, Artist Code: 1703
Painted on Aquarelle Arches hot pressed 140lb 100% cotton rag paper, size: 14″ x 20″

The field trip for resource material for this painting was very easy: the bluebells – Hyacinthoides non-scripta, were growing in a little wood on my golf course (I am Lady Captain this year!). So I asked the owner of the golf course if I might dig up a few bluebells, which I offered to put back when I had finished, but he said I could plant them in my own little wild garden – wonderful!


So with an old washing-up bowl full of live bluebells in earth (and accompanying ground detritus and other plants) I brought them home and set them on my desk to immediately mix the colours before the flowers and leaves faded. The picture shows my mixing dishes with quite a lot of mixed colour in them – most important so that there is enough to finish the painting as trying to mix the same colour again is almost impossible!




Although most of the bluebells I brought home were the native English variety, I spotted (sadly) amongst them that there were a couple of hybrids. So I had to choose very carefully which ones I portrayed – after checking the differences between the three types now growing in the UK: the native English (or Common), the Spanish, and the various hybrids. There is no room here to describe the differences, but of course the internet will provide the answers if you are minded to delve further. My preliminary notes about the particular traits of the native bluebell and the interlopers, and which colours I used to accurately mix the blues and greens are shown below.



Next I spent a long time looking at the bluebells just taking everything in and really thinking about what my picture should portray. I came up with a working design which I liked (after lots of bits of paper had been screwed up and thrown into the bin). Below is the working drawing I used and copied it onto tracing paper, then onto my lovely water colour art paper – I just love Aquarelle Arches, it is the best, in my humble opinion, for portraying plants.




Then to paint the actual picture. Firstly, I tackled the flowers themselves then the seedhead stem. The stalks were painted next, and finally the leaves. I then had to leave this painting for a couple of weeks whilst I attended to my second artwork for this exhibition (the Stinking Iris) which suddenly bloomed earlier than I expected.



Last but not least, after preliminary workings and colour mixing for the Stinking Iris painting, I came back to the Bluebells and finished off the background, also adding a little critter (Brimstone butterfly), which I felt should be there as I had seen one flitting about whilst I was digging up the bluebell specimens. I do hope you like the completed artwork. A much fuller version of the path to completion can be found at my website under “Studio Diary”. This is a direct link to the blog entries for this painting: http://tinasfineart.uk/1703-abba-bluebells-second-update-worldwide-flora-exhibition-2018/



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