Assignment 4 – Flower Heads

Assignment 4 was a fun assignment, the first opportunity to use a lot of colour after the first two graphite assignments and then all the greens in Assignment 3. Choosing which flowers to use was really tricky for me. I’m lucky that my Mum’s garden is beautiful, and so I had a lot of choice there, but I also made a couple of trips to the best nursery near me for some inspiration… It was such a hard decision! I was actually quite unhappy with the outcome though – I felt like I could have done a lot better, and this wasn’t at all my best work.


Work in Progress


Flower Heads



I’ve put the rose first, but it was actually the 4th component I painted. I really, really didn’t like this part of the painting. I wouldn’t even be happy seeing this in my sketchbook! It was underworked and overworked at the same time, and to me it feels lifeless and bland, not to mention badly painted! Onwards and upwards…

My tutor said that I needed more highlights on the rose, and perhaps the use of a very very pale wash of cobalt blue could have helped with that. She also noticed that I tried to lift paint to give the highlight, whereas it would have been better to leave it white from the beginning, something I do normally do (see the Platycodon below). She mentioned that if I was to do the same rose again, then using some Permanent Rose would have given it more of a ‘glow’. Her final comment was that I should make my first wash as bright as possible, as adding layer after layer can be ‘deadening’. Really helpful tips!



I loved painting this… I got to use one of my favourite colour paints ‘Blue Violet’ from Sennelier. I really used this as an opportunity to play with tone, and really emphasised the highlights on the petals.



I feel like this fuchsia could have gone better. I painted this late at night when I was very tired (a lesson to be learnt there). I did think I got the colours right, but I felt I could have painted it more delicately.

The only comment my tutor had here was that the shadow under the skirt of the fuschia could have been a bit darker…


This Perlagonium was a really striking pink. I’m sure you can see here that I was in a rush again, and the stems are almost left unfinished. There definitely could be a darker tone to the right hand side of the stems.



I knew I needed a pop of yellow on the page and this daisy fitted the bill. I need a lot of practice painting yellow flowers, this was my first attempt (I always shy away from them normally). I think they require a similar process to painting white flowers (particularly the use of botanical greys).

My tutor correctly pointed out that at this angle, the centre of this argyranthemum would be more oval. 



I got to use Blue Violet again for this anemone, with some Indanthrone Blue (Daniel Smith) and Opera Rose (W&N).



I love the pop of orange colour this Crocosmia gives to the page. My Mum’s garden has a lot of Crocosmia, and I’ve always looked at it but never seen it. It’s so beautiful, even once the flowers have fallen off, the shells and structure of the plant is so unique.

I could have shown deeper tone in this Crocosmia, particularly underneath the buds and calyx. 



I got 8. 88 as a final mark for this assignment, which I genuinely thought was over-generous!

Thanks for reading, I hope this post was useful to some of you!




8 thoughts on “Assignment 4 – Flower Heads

    • Hi Juliet. I’m sorry for the delay in responding to your comment, I think my blog had a hiccup in sending me notifications. I’m so glad that you’re finding my blog quite a useful resource. I started it for that sole reason, as i had found other people’s blogs so useful when I was beginning the course (and deciding whether or not to do it!) I really hope you’re enjoying the course so far. And perhaps we will meet one day at an SBA gathering. Helen x

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