How to paint daffodils, by Paul Talbot-Greaves

Painting by Paul Tablot-Greaves, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Here’s a topical painting tip from Watermill tutor Paul Talbot-Greaves, as hosts of golden daffodils are blooming to welcome the Spring. Paul has some insights on the best ways to capture their beauty.

First, Paul drew out the main shapes of the petals and flowers (above), as a guideline rather than an outline. He says: “I always prefer to draw with the brush whilst I paint. For this short painting I used Moulin du Roy, 300gm NOT surface paper, which is a soft cotton paper with a slight texture and is ideal for flower paintings or any kind of detailed work. I dampened some parts of the paper and washed Winsor lemon over the daffodils, leaving white where the most intense light could be seen. The damp paper helped to make the light shapes soft.”

Painting by Paul Tablot-Greaves, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.When everything was dry, Paul used a size 6 mop brush to apply the rich background. He says: A size 6 sounds small, but the sizing of mop brushes is different to normal round brushes and in fact, this is quite a big brush. I used strong applications of viridian and alizarin crimson, mixed on the paper whilst I painted the negative shapes around the petals. I’m not over careful and you can see how I haven’t meticulously painted up to pencil edges.”

Painting by Paul Talbot-Greaves, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Paul says: “When all the washes were dry, I applied the main shapes and colours of the daffodils using a size 3 mop brush. What is important here is to concentrate on the subtle changes of the yellow as it is affected by light. I added alizarin crimson to the Winsor lemon to make a warmer yellow for the deeper sunlit shades. For cooler shade, I used viridian with the yellow and in most other areas, just yellow.

“I allowed the shapes and colours to fuse whilst they were wet, then after they had dried I applied only a limited amount of further definition. I held off working any more detail as in my mind, simplicity works better than overly done definition.”

Paul Talbot-Greaves will be making his first trip to the Watermill in a few weeks’ time. His 2018 course is fully booked, but we have a special offer if you would like to book for his painting week here in 2019.  

We will not be publishing full details of our 2019 courses on our Watermill website until September 2018, but Paul will be with us again from Saturday 27 April – Saturday 4 May 2019.  *Book now to come on Paul’s 2019 course at 2018 prices (you can see these by clicking here) To enquire about availability and/or reserve your place, simply email Bill Breckon direct: bill@medialliance.net.

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