Winter Flame sparks of colour through winter (Cornus Sanguinea)
Winter Flame could be any bush through the summer months, but come Autumn and the stems turn yellow, rising to a deep vibrant orange and the tips are red. Flame is an apt name for this bush. You can’t miss it through Winter, it really stands out against the snow. Everyone sees them and then wonders where they go in Spring and Summer. They have tiny white flowers early Summer and then a black berry.
I saw the Winter Flame in a local park and the three long stems together really caught my eye. I felt I had to paint all three together for the watercolour sketch series.
Painting vibrant watercolours
To begin with, I mixed four watercolour palettes, a yellow, a pink, an orange and a grey. First I created a strong yellow watercolour mix and painted brushstrokes of yellow sweeping up and away from the stems. I let the first layers dry, then re-applied. This process was repeated till I had deep yellow brushstrokes of paint.
Again I repeated this process with the orange watercolour mix, going over some of the yellow brushstrokes. I built layers of watercolour to get a rich vibrant tone of colour. Once the orange layers of wash had dried I applied the pink watercolour wash in brushstrokes to the ends of the yellow and orange brushstrokes. The pink layers over the orange wash gave a red hue effect. Repeatedly adding layers of watercolour wash, builds colour and creates a vibrant Winter Flame.
Next I painted the grey mix in short brushstrokes across the stems. I let the layers dry before adding more short brushstrokes. I also left areas unpainted, to create texture in the stems. Then I used the yellow mix to paint the yellowed moss on the stems. I created a green mix from the yellow to overlay the yellow moss.
Finally I created a pale brown mix from the yellow watercolour mix and used this to paint short brushstrokes to represent the dried grass surrounding the stems. This helped to ground the Winter Flame.