Friday, April 7, 2017

Welcome to Life Documented Week 15 with Suz

Hi everyone!  This week I want to show you how I do a bouquet of flowers.

Theme for April: Bloom
Quote: April Showers Bring May Flowers
Prompt: Add Chalk or Colored Pencil

I learned a little history when I was looking to see who made up the quote.  In 1557 Thomas Tusser compiled a collection of writings he called "A Hundred Good Points of Husbandry".  In the April section he wrote: Sweet April Showers Do spring May Flowers.  It was a reminder that even with unpleasant things like heavy showers the most pleasant things come from it.  A lesson in patience.

So here we go!

First I wanted to show you some strokes I use.  My brushes are getting really shot but you will get the idea.  Lined up are the brushes I used to get these strokes.  I use all kinds of brushes with my acrylics.  The watercolor brushes I use but add a little water to my paint.  Just a drop or two to make is go on smoother. When making your petals use pressure at the first and let up on the end of the stroke.  

I used watercolor paper but anything that you have made to withstand acrylics will work.  First I mapped out just a simple layout.  This works best if you have three or five central images.  This is dark because my pencil lines were very light so I darkened it in my graphics program. I have three basic circles staggered as my central flowers.

I used these two paints for the background and mixed them with white with a palette knife then also applied it with a palette knife.  Any blue green or other color will do.

Then over to one side I added a lime green.

I started by laying the color around the flowers shapes I drew.  You can do the painting and then draw the shapes if you want but your background may show through the paint of your flowers.
I also add some of the darker shade in between the flowers and some of the lighter shade in the vase as it will look like a reflection of a wall behind it.

I take the same colors and start just swiping in leaves and foliage of different sizes.  I also smooth my paint in the background with a brush and make the bottom a little darker than the top of the page. I took some of each color mix and added some stems in the glass and the darker color and dab in a horizontal line to look like your water line.  

Choose your color for your flowers and take a larger brush and just swipe some color in.  Use quite a lot of color on your brush then take some white or a lighter color and make some more swipes adding it and dragging it in with the darker color to get some petal like effects. 

Take a darker color that will go with the flower color.  If you use yellow go with a red or oranges mixed with white, If you use purple you can use a lavender or blue or red mixed with white.
Dab in your flower centers and some dots or pods here and there.  I use the darker colors on the bottom and where the flowers are gathered to signify the places where there would be more shadow.  I also added some of the darker color to the stems in the glass.

Next I added some white on top to look like baby's breath with the back end of the brush.  By this time I have used light color on top of dark on top of light.  I keep alternating dark and light to give more depth.  I added a shadow color to the bottom edge of my vase and some white dabs in between the stems in the vase.

I added a second dark color that goes with my purple, I chose blue and made light applications to the pods to define

Next I added yellow to the green which was a fabric paint but it is a transparent yellow and added highlights to the leaves.

I added some yellow green to the pods and dabbed it at the base of the leaves and flowers and used some yellow ochre like color with white and added it to the base of the flowers, just dabbing to get some different colors in the leaves. Then I added some more white spots.  You are making subtle changes but each layer gives a lot of depth and up to now I am just swiping colors and going right over the wet layers.  Just remember to load your brush with more paint and use like colors or colors that are next to each other on the color wheel.

Next is the fun part for me.  I used chalk.  It is really old.  Like 20 years old but you can still get these. They were the cheapest kind.  You can also use pan pastels or anything you like that you can smudge.  Even watercolor pencils work, or kids markers that are water soluble.  I have used the purple and dark blue in those lots of times.  

Use the darkest color, I used purple in your shadow places and add white and green to your leaves and flowers.  I also used a dark pink to define the other flowers.  Then smudge with your finger.  I added pencil then scribbled some white over the water line and added some white here and there to the vase for a reflection like effect.  If you want to use fixative to keep the chalk from moving to another page or hairspray you can.  

Here is the finished piece.


  1. very pretty. Thanks for the instructions. happy to see someone else has an array of old paints and other media.

  2. Very pretty! Thank you for sharing!

  3. This is lovely. The brush strokes and brushes are really helpful, thanks!