Peony Paeonia – rare flower in gardens
Beautiful, blowsy Peony is todays watercolour sketch. This particular Peony has a sweet intoxicating scent that draws you in as you walk past. Much as I love the showy flowers they seem to be a rarity here in Shropshire. On my outdoor explorations I’ve managed to spy them, making a meagre front lawn presence. It seems this flower has gone out of fashion in our gardens and yet it is still popularly depicted in clothing and textile designs.
Peony painting process
I started painting with a pale pink watercolour mix. Using a loose wash I painted sections of petals, leaving areas of white to represent the highlighted areas of petals. I added more layers of pink, especially to the inner petals. It is easy to become lost amongst the layers of petals. Therefore every so often I would stop painting and reassess the petals.
Before the first layers had dried I overpainted the outer petals with a blue wash. The blue wash adds shadow and definition to the petals. Always applying the brush from the inner part of the petal, towards the petal outer edge. Bearing in my mind to leave a white area to the outer edge of the petals. Then while the blue wash dried I painted several layers of the red pigment to the inner petals. Then I painted an overall green watercolour wash to the leaves. Finally I painted the yellow stamens and a darker green mix for the veins of the Peony leaves.
Peony displays at Kelways Nurseries
An abundance of Peonies are on display every June at Kelways Nurseries, which are located in Langport, Somerset, but they have currently closed the display until 2017, while they create easier access. They have over 300 Peonies, in their ‘Peony Valley’. There used to be a London to Penzance railway line, that had a temporary station called ‘Peony Valley Halt’ every June. The trains would pause and the Ladies and Gentlemen of the carriages would disembark and wander around the lines of Peonies, before re-embarking on their train journey.
It is a stunning statement flower. Though they are a popular cut flower, I prefer to admire their full blooms amongst the tall spikes of bearded irises and their aromatic scent mingling with delicate rose blooms. It would be lovely to see the Peony back in our gardens.