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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > January 19 > Capture a moment in time

Capture a moment in time

Award-winning botanical artist Julia Trickey demonstrates how to paint a faded rose in wetin- wet watercolour layers

Iam a big fan of painting specimens at a less than perfect stage, such as autumnal leaves, seed heads or fading flowers. My interest in the latter subject came about by accident, when the pressures of family life didn’t allow me time to paint a fresh bunch of flowers immediately. I love the way the colours become muted and petals twist, sometimes becoming translucent.

Nowadays, I dry out flowers, especially for painting purposes. Some, such as roses, fade better than others. I might leave a whole bunch of flowers in a vase without water, or hang them upside down in a warm, dry place, although once desiccated there may only be one or two specimens that appeal to me.

Layers for form and depth

Botanical artists use a variety of watercolour techniques to build up their paintings but most paint in layers to achieve the desired depth of tone and richness of colour. Some use several initial pale washes whilst others may complete an entire painting using small, dry brushstrokes throughout. I favour starting by looking at the form and shape of each petal and endeavour to recreate what I see using wet-in-wet watercolour layers. Working with the paper flat I will wet a section with clear water and, when this area has an even sheen finish (but no surface water), dab in colour. As long as the area is still wet, this colour can be teased into place or other hues added. However once the wetted section starts to dry or loses its sheen it is important to stop, even if you haven’t finished what you are doing.

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About The Artist

Welcome to the first issue of 2019 to inspire and inform your artistic development, including all the information you will need to plan your entries to the best open competitions throughout the year in our extensive 5-page guide. We also see the start of two new series, by Ruth Buchanan on how to draw and paint animals with confidence, and Mark David Hatwood on all aspects of marketing and how to make money from your artwork. There are practical articles and demonstrations showing you how to adapt your painting techniques for coloured pencil work, with amazing results, how to paint a self-portrait as well as a stunning faded rose, both in watercolour, and how to make your watercolours more dynamic by using watercolour grounds. Our top artist contributors also share their expertise on best practice for working on the spot, how to plan a complex composition, paint your first realist still life in acrylic, use your sketchbooks to work out your ideas, how to paint successfully from your photos and which colours to mix in oils to achieve a sense of space in your landscapes. With all this and much more, there's plenty to keep you drawing and painting over the festive period. Enjoy!