my watercolor easel
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(easel is 'Plein-air Pro'... so many people ask!)

my students painting
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view of the garden
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garden detail
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mixed flowers
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peonies
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more peonies
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barns
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student art 1
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student art 2
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Christine Lashley - Fine Artist

Country Garden Watercolor Demo

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A Day of Painting at Margaret's Garden in Herndon, VA 

Step-by-step watercolor painting of Margaret's Garden 
(see my watercolor palette and supply list on my 'classes' page)

step 1
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Step 1
I start with my bright colors for the flowers. Then add the blue sky with Cerulean Blue. The flowers in the photo don't match exactly to what I'm painting because, when on location, I have the advantage to look right or left and 'borrow' other flowers as needed.
 
All the watercolor is transparent, no gouache or masking fluid was usedid.
 
Notice how the large pale-orange peony in the center of the painting gets 'cut in half' by the dark green in the Step 2. I decided that it was to big.

step 2
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Step 2
Bright colors continue to be added and I start the greens for some flower foliage. I take care to suggest the flowers, but not get too fussy. Mostly the dabs of paint have small dots of other colors 'floated in' while wet. Colors used besides my usual ones: Quinacridone Magenta, Cadmium Yellow Deep, and Cadmium Red Light. The Q. Magenta was great for the peonies. The dark shapes in the background were done wet-in-wet with rich paint swipes of mixed greens, blues and browns.

My students at the Yellow Barn painted on location May 22, 2009 at a beautiful garden. This is a special garden that has been cultivated for over 30 years, and the woman who runs it sells her iris and peonies in the late spring.

my garden demos, and students painting
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(the large painting was create the day before class)

final picture
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"Country Garden", watercolor, 12 x 18"

Finishing Touches
I got most of the art done on location, and brought it home to finish it in the studio. The light was getting too bright to make good choices anymore on location (around 11:30). I felt the flower drift in front was a bit too light, but did not want to get too dark with the foliage greens, so I added small amounts of extra greens and blues (Hooker's Green and French Ultramarine Blue) in the flower's leaves. I also darkened the path a bit with Burnt Umber and Sepia. In some areas of the flowers I put a small bit of Cobalt Blue, this makes a nice tie-in with the sky.

Click: To see the Spring '08 "Plein-air Watercolor" class paint on-location!

Click: To see the Fall '08 "Plein-air Watercolor" class paint on-location!

Click: To see the Spring '10 "Plein-air Watercolor" class paint on-location!

Bonus Material