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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > Dec-17 > Develop your botanical skills

Develop your botanical skills

Follow Jarnie Godwin as she paints an artichoke in watercolour. You’ll achieve a high level of tonal variation, complex, natural colours, deep shadows, and lots of detail using just three primary colours
Purple Bearded Iris, watercolour on Saunders Waterford HP 140lb (300gsm), 223⁄4x193⁄4in (58x50 cm)

When choosing a subject I like to focus on the shape, texture and structure, with a good contrast between the highlights and shade. Very light tones next to deep shadows will always create a striking contrast, drawing the viewing eye into, and around the composition. By also enlarging the subject, these focal points are made much more dramatic.

The fragile, ageing appearance of the artichoke immediately appealed to me. The range of warm and cool tones from soft greys through to warm golden browns created a strong focus, the palest highlights to near-black shadows, which drew the eye into the subject. The arching shape, and subtle greengrey colour of the main leaf, also caught my eye.

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About The Artist

Welcome to our December issue, packed with inspirational workshop-style features from our team of top professional artists and tutors. This month David Curtis demonstrates an oil painting of a corner of his garden, Graham Webber shows how to paint boats in the landscape, Judi Whitton shares her 'creepy crawly' drawing methods to help you produce unique sketches without a viewfinder and Penny German reveals her tips for setting up and lighting a still-life subject. Watercolourists will love learning how Claire Harkess paints her prizewinning wildlife paintings, and how to paint a successful botanical subject using just three primary colours following Jarnie Godwin's advice. Writer, broadcaster and painter Andrew Marr discusses his thoughts about abstraction with reference to the development of one of his own compositions, as well as much more to keep you inspired, informed and, of course, drawing and painting!