Mavis started by applying blue Masking Fluid to pick out the shapes of the flowers. Whilst this dried She discussed why she liked gouache, saying that is an underused medium but is really quite sophisticated and has a wide range of colours. She finds Windsor and Newton paints the best.
Gouache can be applied like watercolour and has the added advantage of lights being able to be added over darks.
She started by laying in the background, keeping it very watery and loose. She doesn't like using ready mixed greens, preferring to mix from a wide range of yellows and blues. At this stage she is not paying attention to the brush stokes and is achieving a varied background.
Next she starts to add a loose impression of leaves etc. to the background, strengthening the colours as she comes down the composition. With a small brush she then starts to put in some of the negative shapes these are random but do tend to be geometric. She is a great believer in using negative space to create an illusion of something that isn't there. These are built up in layers adding violet to the colour to darken it. Again using a more concentrated colour near the bottom. A little yellow can be added to lighten the colour if needed. The darker tones add interest to the picture.
The masking fluid was the removed so that she could start painting the flowers using a watery colour wash just adding a simple base colour. She added that the type of flower influenced the way that it was painted, some in solid colour others in a lot of light washes.(see picture of the two samples)
Having decided where the light was coming from she started to give the petals shape with layers of colour, adding shadows where needed.
She then added more shadows to the background to enhance the flowers before mixing Yellow Ochre and White to add highlights. At the top this was to show the sun coming through the leaves. All this starts to give a feeling of depth to the painting. The bottom leaves were then wet and the dark colour was manipulated to give an impression of shadows.
She finished the painting by adding lights to the flowers.
Mavis added that a painting like this would normally take a full day and she was merely showing us her working method. A painting like this would be built up in several layers not just about three she had used today.
An excellent evening led by an informative demonstrator that was greatly appreciated by the members.