Monday, May 6, 2019

Painting the Common Lilac

Because of their powerful fragrance, lilacs were planted next to outhouses in early America. Even when the outhouse has rotted away, you can tell where it once stood because of where the lilacs are.

Common Lilac, gouache, watercolor, chalk, and white gel pen
At New York Botanical Garden's Plein Air Invitational, I wanted to do a close-up study of Syringa vulgaris, the common lilac.

I set up my easel with the flower right next to my sketchbook page. The little flowers in the lilac grow on spikes that are ideal for bee pollinators.  The flowers start out as bulbous buds, each of which has a tiny "X" at the tip. They open into four-petaled flowers, starting at the base of the spike. The buds are redder than the open flowers, which are a little bluer. They average out to a soft violet color in the common lilac, but the collection of the NYBG includes hundreds of varieties.

Read more about the structure of the lilac on this website about microscopy.

(Link to Facebook video)

Pentalic Aqua Journal
Brush: Protege 9467
M. Graham (gouache)
Watercolor pan set
Water-soluble colored pencil
Fountain pen
Canon M6 (time lapse, video, and stills): 

"Gouache in the Wild" (Download on Gumroad)
How to Make a Sketch Easel” (DVD)
Flower Painting in the Wild

Gouache Materials List
Watercolor Materials

Color and Light: A Guide for Realist Painters:
Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn’t Exist

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Garrett said...

Great video & paintings. Love the how you used the shape of the leaves to define the overall shape of the painted area!

Rich said...

Makes me feel

"Invaded by beauty's universal revel"

as the poet says.