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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > June 18 > White flowers in watercolour

White flowers in watercolour

Jean Haines explains how to paint white flowers by creating fabulous backgrounds and negative painting to use the white of the paper for maximum impact
Lily of the Valley, watercolour, 15x11in (38x28cm)

Flowers come in all shapes and sizes and for the passionate artist there is much to love and observe. But what happens when the flower you wish to paint is white? I know this can be a stumbling block for many artists, as on my watercolour courses I am often asked how I paint white subjects.

I find myself mesmerised by white flowers and I love painting them. As a gardener, I know adding white plants to a perennial border adds a sense of light, just as it does in a painting when an artist leaves white paper. A blank piece of watercolour paper is often white or cream. We cover it with colour to create our chosen subjects. When painting a white subject, however, I find it far easier to forget the subject altogether and place my focus on painting the background instead. I will show you how in the following demonstrations.

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About The Artist

Welcome to our June issue with plenty to inspire artists in all media. Watercolourists will love Amanda Hyatt's Five Steps to Watercolour technique with a 10-minute exercise to try, Ann Blockley's invitation to let go of reality and get creative with the medium, Jean Haines' advice on how to paint white flowers, while Julie Collins shows how adding ink can create definition and impact. For inspiration for oil painters don't miss cover artist Jason Sacran's step-by-step self-portrait, Patrick Cullen's article on painting in India and Paul Brown's advice on using just six colours to paint a landscape. For acrylic painters we have Michael Kidd talking about his stylised acrylic compositions, Jo Quigley's demonstration on how to paint successful reflections in acrylics and Marie Antoniou on how to transform a dull photo into an interesting painting, while Barry Herniman demonstrates the versatility of the under-used medium of gouache. With all this and much more, why not try a new medium or technique in the coming weeks under the guidance of our fantastic contributing artists!