Hyacinths in Ink and Watercolor

Pushing Myself by Sketching Hyacinths

Do you love the fragrance of Hyacinths?  I absolutely love their perfume. Every spring I purchase a pot of these beauties to enjoy in the house.  When the blooms are spent, I add to my collection planted in the yard.  However, I have always been too intimated to try to sketch them because of all of their complex petals–that is until now!  I decided this would be the spring I would conquer my fear and try sketching and painting them.

The colors I used for this sketch were: Hansa Yellow Medium, Winsor Violet, Ultramarine Blue Deep, Cobalt Blue, Winsor Green (blue shade), Quinacridone Gold, and Quinacridone Burnt Orange.

After applying ink over my sketch, I painted Hansa Yellow in the centers of the flowers.  Next, I painted a very pale wash of Winsor Violet over the petals being careful to keep the edges white.

I used a small rigger to paint very thin lines on the petals with the Winsor Violet. Then I added a small amount of Ultramarine Blue Deep to my puddle of Winsor Violet. Next, I wet part of the petal and dropped in this mix so as to create a medium value with soft edges on parts of the petals.I mixed a light green puddle using the Quinacridone Gold and Winsor Green.  In addition, I mixed a darker green puddle with the same two colors but added a little more of the Winsor Green and a little of the Quinacridone Burnt Orange to make a more natural green.  Next, I painted in the light green over a leaf and while it was still wet, painted in a thin line of the darker green for the shadow side.  This created a soft transition for the shadows.

Using the green mix, I painted the title “Hyacinths.”  Also, Using the violet mix, I painted in a partial border just to add a little weight to the bottom of the page for better composition and also as a way to repeat the purple again in the page for harmony.

I wet the background and floated in a very pale wash of the Winsor Violet in order to add a little more color to balance out all of the green on the page.

At this point I thought I was finished but something was bugging me about it.  After looking at it for a day or two, I knew what it needed: deeper values in the petals. So using a mix of the Ultramarine Blue and Winsor Violet, I deepened some of the petals. I also thought the green needed something to give it a little pizzaz, so I glazed a very light wash of Hansa Yellow Medium over parts of the green stems, leaves, and the lettering.

Spring Hyacinths © Annie Glacken

Now I like it much better. I am so glad I jumped in to sketch and paint these fragrant beauties!  It helps us boost confidence and grow as an artist when we push ourselves a little further than our comfort zone. How about you? Have you sketched something beyond your comfort zone?

As always, the compositions in these exercises are copyrighted. Thanks!

8 Replies to “Hyacinths in Ink and Watercolor”

    • Thank you Robin! I still have a lot to learn as well. That is part of our art journey–but that is what makes it interesting too, don’t you agree?

  1. The finishing touches really made this come alive! I often have to step back from a piece for a day or two, also. And as a beginner, I think I sketch way past my comfort zone every single day. That’s what makes it so fun!

    • Yes, I think no matter what level we are at, it is good to puch ourselves a little! Thanks for commenting!

  2. Have you sketched something beyond your comfort zone? Everything I sketch seems to be beyond my comfort zone! 😉 Love the line work and your finishing touches! Beautiful sketch, Annie!

    • Susan, there are many things I sketch that are beyond my comfort zone too! I think that is why I am a slow sketcher. Hopefully I will get a little faster! Thanks for the compliment and comment!