Why did I choose white?. . . .


nicoArt group had an additional morning’s tutoring this week with the brilliant Lizzie Harper.  Everyone really enjoyed the session, appreciated her encouragement and came away with something.

I struggle with delicate petals ( I like sculptural plants) and white is always difficult unless the flowers are against a darker background.  I decided to test my self and tackle some white nicotiana .  Testing indeed!  A straggle of mixed up drooping flowers and buds criss-crossing and I didn’t get round to tackling the downy hair on the stems at all.


In the end, with the tutor’s help and advice I decided to keep the flower petals just graphite with the  very slightest wash of watercolour “opera pink” and a blue shadow.  (This doesn’t actually show on the scan).   The white flowers had the slightest pink blush to the petal edges.   Even if not “botanically correct” I think you would identify this as nicotiana.  It is a gorgeous plant which I have never had much luck growing. I really must try again next year.  . . . .

4 thoughts on “Why did I choose white?. . . .

  1. Whites are always tricky, and you managed it very well. It’s interesting that the scanner doesnt pick up very pale washes of colour, Ive had the same problem myself. And as for the way you capture the calyx of these trumpet-like flowers…very beautifully done!

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  2. Once you made your choice and started the painting you could have wet around the flower-heads and dropped in some loose colours to bring out the flowers – you could still do it now.

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    1. Yes thanks Graham good idea I could do that now I have the sketch home to make a pleasing picture. It was a “botanical” art day so I think convention dictates you don’t do that for a study??? Wanted to see if I could do white on white to any effect. Looks like you had a good time in France🌼

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      1. I didnt appreciate it was a botanical painting course. Though it amuses me that changing the flower’s hue is ok so long as the background remains pristine white.

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