Once the front garden is alive with the blues, yellows and pinks of bulbs, you can be sure that Spring is here, and if things are not quite all right with the world, than it must be taken as a sign that better times must surely be on the way.
It is also a time when we can be fooled into thinking that is safe to plant out our seedlings, only to discover that there is still plenty of time for frosts to upset our plans.
In the meantime, it is the perfect opportunity to sketch the colours of Spring.
A sketch of a group of flowers for sale, part of a larger stall, which I would like to return to one day, to work up a larger painting, but it remains to be seen if I will be able to make the opportunity.
As predicted, it didn’t take the tulips long to start flopping, and once they start, they don’t stop. By the time you have drawn them, they have flopped some more. There is no point trying to correct the drawing because by the time you have, they have moved again. It’s a race the tulips always win! Not that it matters, as long as you end up with a reasonable painting!
Tulips are another must at this time of year. The leaves are often more interesting than the flowers themselves. Although they were actually standing in a jug, I decided not to include it as I wanted to concentrate on the leaves. I’m hoping by later in the week the flowers will have become more relaxed about being painted.
The final phase of the daffodil ‘thing’ I have had this week! Although the flowers are still thriving, it is probably time to look at something else. They were a beautiful present which couldn’t help but brighten up the day – a lot of days actually. They always seem to be a cheerful flower and bring a much needed burst of colour into the world at this time of year.
The Daffodils are starting to open up now and showing more of their colour, and are just as good to paint. I love the different greens along their length from the very yellow-green at the bottom through the blue sheen along the stems and so dark in the shadows between stems and under overhanging petals, and back to yellow green again as the buds begin to open. Mostly I used lemon yellow and French ultramarine with just a touch of permanent sap green in places. I always want to paint them as much as possible every year as I know they wont last for ever.
With Winter fast approaching it is good to have a memory of Summer and the thought that one day it will all return. Meantime, there is always something to enjoy in every season. All you have to do is let it find you.
The Rudbeckias are doing most of the work supplying colour in the garden at the moment. There are other things but none as brash or self-assertive as these tall brightly coloured flowers. There are some marigolds which can compete in colour but not so much in height. They do very well in their own little world.
I wanted to paint these before they succumb to the weather and lose their petals.
Some places have hanging baskets to prettify their surroundings. Others have window boxes. In Stow on the Wold they are big on flower towers dotted around the town, to bring some welcome colour to the summer months. The place is also big on vehicles, making it hard to find anywhere to park unless you get up really early in the morning. In reality, there were lots of cars parked behind the tower, and something obscuring some of it in front, so I suppose they have to stack their flower pots on top of each other, otherwise no-one would ever see them.
The Poppies have been beautiful this year and are always a welcome addition to the garden whether planted on purpose or a gift of Nature. Although their delicate petals do not always last long once the wind blows, their tall elegant seed heads add another sculptural element to the borders.