The 100 Day Project 2018 – Flowers

The 100 day project 2018, Flowers, BLOG

We are now 3 weeks into this year's 100 Day Project! If you've been following along here on my blog, you will know I have divided my 100 Day Project into 10 sets of 10 days. Each set of 10 days has it's own theme to focus on using watercolour inks and gouache.

For the first 10 days I worked on Night Skies and Galaxies, but for this second set I have been working on Flowers. 

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Flowers are something I paint a lot, but I have found myself stuck in a bit of a comfort zone and tend to focus on the same style of flowers over and over again. For this project I wanted to stretch myself and learn new techniques.

Practice makes progress

By giving myself 10 days to focus on one theme, I am essentially allowing myself the time and space to play with new techniques and learn as I go. I paint flowers daily, but I can try something new and depict them differently each time. The deliberate, repetitive nature of this project means that I get lots of practice and can really see the improvement over those 10 days.

Unfortunately, during this set I had I bad flare and ended up in bed for 3 days, sleeping for most of that time. I did sit up and paint for a few minutes in the evenings (usually my best time of the day) and paint.

I am very happy I've managed to keep the project going this long. I think this might be the longest I've stuck to a challenge of this sort!

Click on images to zoom

Watercolour Irises on a card, paints and brushes scattered on table around it
Blue and purple watercolour itises on a card, paints and brushes scattered on table around it.

Day 1 - Irises

I started with a flower I had never painted before, Irises. I had received a lovely bouquet for Easter since I cannot eat the sugar-filled Easter eggs and bunnies of the season, and among the roses were some gorgeous purple Irises. They are quite tricky to get right, but I think they turned out okay. 

Day 2 - New brushes

I decided to watch a few tutorials on YouTube, I had found some brushes I had never even unwrapped, so had some fun playing with those. I practised some loose Roses or Peonies, some leaves and some more Irises.

Watercolour lavender garden on a card, paints and brushes scattered on table around it.

Day 3 - Lavender

Don't you hate it when your scrap, practice piece turns out prettier than your main project? This is what happened on day 3. I did a quick painting practice on a scrap of paper I test my colours on while mixing. It looked so cute, I went ahead and painted on the watercolour sheet only for it to come out way worse!

It's growing on me now though, if I don't compare it to the other one, it's not awful. I do like it now, I just know what I will do differently next time. Also, the artist's tape I used ripped the edges of the sheet when I removed it, so this poor little picture is really rough around the edges in every sense of the word!

Day 4 - Composition and New Flowers

After watching a few more videos, I decided to have a go at some new flowers. You can see the little red ones with the dark middles. This is a new technique I am learning, so I started really small. I like how they turned out and will definitely be playing more with this style of flower.

I also started playing with shading. Going back over the petals in a darker shade to produce a more realistic, less flat effect. I am really enjoying the shading! I find it amazed at how I am terrified with each stroke I paint that I have ruined it, and then when it dries it looks so much better.

Watercolours are fascinating... who knew, it's actually wonderful watching paint dry!

Days 5, 6 & 7 - Flare days

I continued with similar compositions, but started these pieces with a background wash first. I was feeling awful for these and managed to complete just 2 paintings spanned over the three days I was so ill.

I had both cards taped to the desk side-by-side and would add bits to each of them as and when I could. The new little red flowers make another appearance, as do berries and twigs and some new fern-type leaves.

I once again played with shading and am loving the difference it makes to the flowers, they seem to come alive. I want to start practising shading on leaves too!

Day 8 - Colourful washes

I decided to try something new again. This time I washed the card with a mix of colours and then used a black fine liner pen to draw over it using the coloured patches to inspire the shapes of the flowers. I quite like how it turned out and definitely want to play more with this technique.

Day 9 & 10 - No internet, lots of painting

What happens in 2018 when you wake up to no wifi at home? For me it meant having more painting sessions than usual. I am not able to sit upright for long, so my back paid for it, but I thoroughly enjoyed the process regardless. I might have to enforce some internet fasting on a regular basis!

I washed a few cards with varying shades of blues, greens and pink. On some I painted florals over them, then went back to practice my shading once again and on others I decided to have a go at whimsical doodles.

What I have learned from the past 10 days

  • When it comes to watercolours, wait till it's dry before passing judgement. I tend to dislike my work while I'm painting, but once it's dry I really like the way the watercolours blend and bleed into each other. The patterns the water makes and how the different pigments interact is fascinating. Things that can't really be seen while the paint is still wet.
  • Sometimes not having clear lines is a good thing. It's liberating!

My New Theme

As you know if you've been following along, every ten days, my sister picks the new theme out of the envelope in my journal. 

My Theme For The Next 10 Days Is:
LEAVES
various shapes and shading

I know it might seem very similar to the theme I just had, but there are loads of leaves I have never tried to paint.

I will be focusing on learning new shapes, colour mixing and shading. I am super excited about this theme!

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  • Caz says:

    These are fantastic! I really like the gentle wash of colour and black pen for outlining the flowers as a technique, too. Great tips – this has given me a little inspiration for getting back into doing some art and giving painting a try (which has never been my strong suit!) =]

  • Ellen says:

    I am In awe of talented artist’s like yourself. The Tulips are stunning.

  • Ellen says:

    I love the unstructured wash of colour. Nice work.

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