Finding February Colours

Nothing much has changed in the garden over the last few weeks, although there are one or two tiny white blossoms on the wild cherry. It’s easy to look out on our fledgling browny-green garden,  for the 8th week since January,  and not be too inspired, so I thought I should make a few colour notes, looking much harder at what is there and seeing what colours I can find.

Although it really is predominantly green and brown, the browns go from yellow to russet to greeny and to the deepest mahogany red.
The greens vary from soft yellow green, to olive and from the blue greens of the sage and lavender to the bright yellow greens of some of the struggling foliage.
By the pond are pinky terracotta pots, bluish purple stones and sandy coloured paving slabs.
Dead twigs and plant stalks which I left for something to look at and for bird perching are pale straw colour, black, dark brown or a gingery red.

Instead of worrying about drawing accurately I just noted down colours and shapes. It’s a good exercise in looking for colour when there doesn’t seem to be very much. Photos flatten colour so much. You see so much more if you are in front of your subject.
The results are sometimes abstract, but I know exactly what I was looking at.


Under the Magnolia tree.


The stone by the herb bed with sage and twigs


The fence at the back and my neighbours house.
A bit more obvious! Because, perhaps, I am further away. She has a lovely and well established garden. Ours is still new and struggling.


Another herb bed with rosemary and paving slabs and the ubiquitous blackbird.


Pond edge, with magnolia buds in the way.


Two Builders bags

A more jarring colour note amongst the natural colours are two big blue builders bags which contain some chipped mulch. There is also the orange yellow of a plastic bin and some red pots. White blossom and jasmine by the shed.

These are all small sketchbook notes about 5 x 7 inches

Some of these colour combinations have turned out to be unexpectedly interesting, some not. No colour theory was involved, just what was there, but enhanced and clarified. They perhaps look brighter on the screen.
My favourite painting colours tend to be much more monochrome but thinking about printmaking is making me reconsider. There is such an opportunity for clean solid colours in printmaking and these are good practice.

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  1. I like the semi abstract colour patterns. Has given me food for thought re bird art

  2. Wow…these may be simple exercises to you, but they are gorgeous little pieces!

  3. Thanks very much to both of you, You know, I start these things quite randomly and sometimes they work better than the carefully planned things. However the time is coming for some more finished and considered work!

    Citybirding: I think these sort of studies can brighten up some natural history work by boosting the colours. your dragonflies are lovely!!

    Sarah: the designer in me loves them and I think of fabrics prints and more ….

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