Solomons Seal Polygonatum x hybridum – painting in the garden
Solomons Seal is today’s watercolour sketch. The Solomons Seal appeared after I had cleared the undergrowth around a substantial shrub. I love their structure and thought they would be interesting to paint. The sunlight was streaming through the leaves today, which caught my eye as I walked around the garden. In this watercolour I’ve tried to capture the differing green tones I saw.
Therefore I decided to paint a stronger contrast between the leaves that have the sunlight shining through them, compared with the Solomons Seal leaves that have the sunlight shining on them, which are darker.
Firstly I placed a rug on the lawn to sit on and paint the plant. This enabled me to observe and sketch the plant at eye level. The sun was in front of me and shining through the plant. I scattered the palettes around me and used several jam jars of water. It was easier than cleaning and refilling jam jars with water. The advantage of painting in the garden meant I was able to be surrounded by jam jars. Out in the field I’d have to manage with the water I carried.
Solomons Seal painting process
My first washes were a yellow green mix on the leaves that the sunlight shone through. I also used this mix to paint the drooping flowers. These clusters of drooping flowers make the Solomons Seal instantly recognisable. Some of the flowers were in the shade, so these particular flowers also had a final light brown wash.
I painted a blue wash on the darker leaves and while this dried, I again painted a greener watercolour mix to the yellow leaves, using this colour to paint the veins of the leaves also. In addition I painted quite dry brushstrokes, moving my brush from the light leaves to the darker leaves, as I waited for them to dry. Finally I added a brown mix to my greens to give a softer shadow tone, to all the leaves.
Hopefully I’ve managed to capture the distinctive shape of the Solomons Seal, with it’s arched stem and drooping creamy flowers.