What inspired me to paint this scene of sunlit rhododendrons were the cast shadows on the flowers and leaves. I love trying to depict sunlight and shadow in my watercolours.
The colours I used for this painting were: aureolin, raw sienna, indian yellow, permanent rose, cobalt violet.
I mixed my greens with Winsor blue and quinacridone gold. The darks for the crevices and negative spaces were mixed with Winsor blue, quinacridone magenta and gold.
First I masked out the stamens ans allowed this to dry.
Having prepared my colours for the first wash, I wetted the whole of the paper and dropped in yellows over some of the leaves and the flower buds in the centre, pinks over the flower petals, taking care to leave light areas and then weaved in greens and blues, concentrating the darker tones towards the corners of the painting. I let this dry.
Second stage painting negative spaces to bring out the leaves and flowers
Then with green and blue mixes I brought out the leaf and flower shapes.
Third stage painting the flowers with pink washes
Studying the photo carefully I painted the flowers wetting the petals one by one and dropping in the pinks wet in wet on the edges of the petals and allowing the colour to drift in unhindered. At this stage too I found more leaves within the dark areas created at the last stage by painting negatively around them.
Fourth stage putting some detail in the leaves and more flower work
In the final stage, I painted the pink markings within the flowers and then with a mix of cobalt blue, a touch of pink and a touch of yellow to make a soft blue grey, I painted in the shadows and cast shadows within the flowers. I added more detail to the leaves and then added cast shadows among them to give a sunlit look. I removed the masking from the stamens and painted them with soft pink washes and a touch of burnt sienna on the tips.