Here is the reference photo of the rose shrub which I took in a friend's garden. I liked the way the sun was passing over the flowers and making cast shadows fall on the petals. I loved the contrast between the white flowers and the dark green leaves and crevices of dark between them.
I drew the design out lightly in pencil and masked out the bits that I wanted to protect from the first watercolour wash, ie. The buds and the stamens and one or two leaves. At this first stage, I have wet the paper thoroughly and dropped in a first wash of colour. Over the roses I have dropped in pale pinks, yellows and blues and then darker greens and blues in the areas around the flowers. I made sure to drop in some areas of yellow randomly in the leaf area which would represent sunshine falling in and among them.Already at this stage the process of finding different layers of depth has begun.
At this stage I have found the flower shapes by painting negatively round them with mixes of greens and blues according to what is behind each area, whether leaves or petals. I have dropped yellows wet in wet into the stamen area in each rose bloom to bring out the masked out stamens.
This is a close up of the rose bud area to show how negative painting has been used behind the masked out buds to bring them out. See how even in the negative background areas I have dropped in yellows and greens to give texture and avoid the "curtain behind" effect. I have then removed the masking and the buds can be painted in detail with warm pinks and yellows to make them come forward.
The rose petals were given form by painting them with a shadow mix wet in wet.
Finally the centres have been painted in. Note the negative painting in between the individual stamens in a darker yellow to give them a 3D look. Shadows cast by the stamens have been painted in with the shadow mix made with cobalt blue, a touch of permanent rose and an even smaller touch of yellow.
The flowers have been made to stand out by painting a dark shadowy area just underneath the blooms with a blue/green mix and then blended out downwards with the brush.