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Nature Art: Painting Camelias - Explore

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Sierra Daily

03/03/2011

Nature Art: Painting Camelias

For me, camellias are the roses of winter.

Between December and March, you'll find me pampering the bush that winters in my front hall, shielding it from drafts, and watering it with warm water. The variety I have, "April Remembered," is slightly fragrant, too, especially when all the blooms are open at once.

Every winter, I practice drawing the shapes of the petals--they are never perfectly oval or perfectly flat.  I started this sketch by making contour drawings of three different flowers, choosing those that looked hard to draw because they were growing at odd angles:

Camelias 3

Next, I added a watercolor wash. I like the random mixing of colors, so I painted over the sketches with clean water first. Before it dried, I randomly painted swipes of alizarin crimson and new gamboge yellow onto the wet paper. Then I let this mix dry:

Camelias 4
This sketch was done:

Camelias 5
But this one, taken from another drawing, needed two more layers of darker color to bring it to life.  When you paint in watercolor, it can be hard to make yourself paint dark enough the first time:

Camelias 6

Play around with your own sketches and see what you come up with!

-- Sue Fierston paints and teaches just outside of Washington, D.C. in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. As a painter, she works in acrylics and watercolor and is in the middle of a series called "100 Flowers." As a teaching artist, she works with teachers to bring art into their classrooms in grades 4-8. Her posts focus on her nature-themed art collaborations. For a look at her paintings or more about her teaching, check out her website at suzannefierston.com.

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