The watercolourist Alona Hryn counts flowers as one of her favourite subjects to paint. She takes us through her process of painting an overblown rose that has lost most of its petals which is a beautiful and delicate subject. Alona uses Schmincke Horadam watercolours – both regular watercolours and the new Horadam Pearl Metallic colours – to give clean colour and a subtle shimmer to the flower.
Alona Hryn says she likes to do a lot of preparation in advance when painting flowers because they wilt so quickly. She finds it useful to collect relevant photos and even better to take the photos herself as she can choose the right perspective and the composition when taking photos. “Even flicking through photos can be inspiring for starting to paint” she says.
The materials that Alona uses for this painting
• A genuine rose or a good photo
• Mechanical pencil 0.5 HB
• Schmincke Horadam watercolours in pans and tubes: Titanium Opaque White, Purple Magenta, Yellow Green, Phthalo Green, Sepia Brown
• Schmincke Horadam Gold and Pearl Metallic watercolours: Light Gold, Red Gold, Pearl Red, Pearl Green (these colours are only available in sets)
• Watercolour paper: Fabriano Artistico (extra white), satin, 300 g/m2
• Synthetic watercolour brushes: Escoda Perla in sizes 4 and 6
• Palette, water, tissue for blotting
Painting the Rose with Horadam Watercolours
Alona says “First, you choose the paper, the size and format. For this rose I’ve chosen a bigger sheet of paper to underline the airiness. For flower painting I always choose hotpress paper as rose petals are even and smooth. Rough paper could never show this smoothness.”
1. She draws the outline of the rose with a pencil.
“I always make a very detailed pre-sketch with all shadows and small details, so that the painting process will be easier and not interrupted.”
2. She chooses the colours and brushes she will use.
“I mix several colours to create perfect mixed tones. The best ones, I paint on an additional sheet of paper with the appropriate mixing info.”
Step 3 – She paints the first colour layer.
“The first layer is the most important layer as it determines the areas of light and shadow.” She paints every rose petal separately with its individual colour mixture. First, she wets the petal with the biggest brush. Then, she carefully applies the colours, always starting with the lightest tones, before moving to the darker ones. While the first petal dries she paints the next petal. After drying, the remaining parts – stigma, stamen, style and stipe – are added. When using the Pearl Metallic colours it is important to remember that glitter particles float to the top with each wetting of the colours. So, there is a risk of washing off the glitter or of spreading it everywhere in the painting.
Step 4 – She paints the second colour layer.
At this point she takes a critical look at the painting and decides whether the colours fit or whether they should be adjusted. She recommends “If you have any doubt, take a black and white photo to get an impression of the proportions of the tonal value.” The parts which need additional layers must be wetted with the brush before reworking. “Even when you overpaint small parts of the petals, you should wet the whole petal!” she warns. In this way she adds the colour layers to all parts of the flower.
Step 5 – The last steps are when she adds the details.
Alona adds last details – the shadows, points or freckles – using a small, nearly dry brush. She thinks “It is not necessary to be a botanical expert for flower details; it is more important to paint what you see: colours, forms and shadows.” “It’s also important to know when to stop and to sign your painting.”
Alona Hryn is a freelance artist who enjoys painting flowers, the sky, architecture and the urban enviromment. She is a member of the German Watercolour Society and will be showing in the exhibition ‘Our Wonderful World‘ in July 2018. You can find Alona on Instagram and on Facebook.
Schmincke Horadam watercolours on the Jackson’s Art Supplies website
Special edition Schmincke Horadam watercolours with Gold Metallic and Pearl Metallic colours are available in three metal paint box set sets: 6 Gold Metallic colours, 12 Pearl Metallic colours or all 18 Gold and Pearl Metallic colours.
Click on the underlined link to go to the current offers on Schmincke Horadam watercolours on the Jackson’s Art Supplies website.
Postage on orders shipped standard to mainland UK addresses is free for orders of £39.