Yellow Poppy Meconopsis Cambrica -splashes of yellow in the garden
The popular Yellow Poppy is todays watercolour sketch. The Yellow Poppy grows all over the garden. Gorgeous sunshine this morning, ideal for plein air painting. I had to find a corner of the garden, where the breeze was still. Also I needed an open poppy flowerhead, to see the stamen and anthers inside. They are a lovely splash of colour all around the garden and in the hedges.
It is much more relaxing setting up the painting gear in the sun. Rather than battling the wind or protecting everything from the rain. I used my old collapsable artist chair, sometimes it collapses when it’s not meant too. A makeshift table of an upturned pot and old roof tiles. A few jam jars of water and I was ready to paint.
Yellow Poppy cockling watercolour paper
Previously I’ve used sketchbooks with a 120gsm – 300gsm and have found they start to warp and unevenly spread the watercolour washes. This is known as cockling. Usually watercolour papers have to be stretched before use, so they can absorb more water when painting. The stretching stops the watercolour papers from cockling. Cockling is when the paper distorts and you can end up with bulges in your paper. This stops the paper from lying flat.
It is fine to stretch a sheet of watercolour paper for a painting, but it isn’t an ideal way to use a sketchbook. Therefore I prefer a sketchbook with heavy weight paper. I’ve used a St Cuthbert Mill Bocking 425gsm (220lb) watercolour paper sketchbook. It copes very well with wet washes. Also it’s quite a stiff sketchbook for holding when you’re painting standing.
Yellow Poppy painting process
This Yellow Poppy has warm tones, so I painted the shaded areas with a brown watercolour mix, rather than a black watercolour mix. Also the Poppy has hints of orange on the tips of the petals. I have applied several layers of yellow watercolour to the Yellow Poppy petals, each time adding more yellow pigment to the palette.
The stigma of the Yellow Poppy is almost white with a hint of green, so I painted carefully around it, so I could use the paper as my white. When I had finished painting the petals, I started to paint the stamen and anthers. Then as I added by brown watercolour mix for the shading I also used this to paint around the stamens to add definition to their shape.
I like the warm tones of the Yellow Poppy.