This is a photograph of one of our blossoming beauties named, “Minerva Amaryllis”, that I will be painting in watercolor. It’s petals range in color from salmon to pink with white tiger stripes extending out from the center. My husband grows this one, and many others in our kitchen window. When they quickly spring-up with their bright blossoms it can literally take-your-breath-away. Amaryllis always cheer-up the house in the winter.
First, I sketch the shapes using a 2H pencil, drawing very lightly so lines are erasable later on.
Next, I wet the first petal area being very careful to reserve (keep dry) the area in the middle. This dry area is where the white stripes will be. Proceeding on, I combine colors “wet-on-wet” in this pre-wetted area. Start with a mixture of orange and gambouge yellow, then apply drops of quinacridone magenta and alizaron crimson for the darkest edges. It is fascinating how the watercolors do almost all the work themselves. They combine in expressive gradations till they make edges that are sharp right where the wetness stops. This picture shows very bright the colors look when wet, but, remember that they will fade as they dry.
The approach for the second, third (behind), and fourth petals are pretty much the same except for the lighting changes as they stack.
Now, is when I look at the beginning of where the light and shadow occur on the flower surfaces. The stem below the blossom is heavily darkened.
Following this, I apply a light wash in the background petals that is more muted in value to exaggerate distance.
With a light wash showing the light sky background and greenery texture from below to eye-level, I am ready to begin painting the details.