Watercolour Sketch of Peonies. Plein air with Elena Bazanova.
The lightness, smooth flow from colour to colour and transparency of watercolour is consonant with the soft touches of colour in the buds and petals of flowers. Watercolour as created for painting flowers. Especially red and purple shades. The softness of pink and the saturation of purple surrounded by complementing cold and warm green leaves. 

Today we will paint a sketch with peonies. I made a small bouquet with large pink and rich red flowers. One large central flower has a dark deep burgundy-purple colour. The second flower is red-pink, bright and saturated, and 3 half-opened pale pink buds. Green leaves will become a harmonious background, and the yellow center of the bud will become a colour accent.

At the beginning, I make a light drawing on which I indicate the total volumes of buds with a small detail of petals and leaves. Having finished with the drawing, I moisten the sheet well from the back and place it on the tablet. With the help of a wide brush, I moisten the front side of the paper without going beyond the contour of the buds. And I start painting.

I chose a palette of 6 colours: 1.256. Peach (P.Y.3 P.O.64 P.W.6 *** ■◮), 2.368. Neon Pink (P.R.122, fluor. * ■◮), 3.364. Geranium Red (P.R.242 *** ◨▲ ), 4.627. Perylene violet (P.V. 29 *** □◮), 5.515. Blue (P.B.15:6 *** □▲), 6.745. May Green (P.Y.3, P.G.36 *** □◮).

For the central flower, I make a basic mixture of Perylene violet + Geranium Red and get a deep and sonorous purple colour. With them I write shadows in the depths of the bud. Towards the end of the petals, I lighten the mixture and make it colder by adding Neon Pink or Blue with lots of water.

For the second flower, I make a mixture of Neon Pink + Geranium Red and get a rich pink (rose) colour, which I use as the main one. In the shadows, I add a little Perylene violet and Blue to the main colour, getting soft highlights and shadows.

For three half-opened buds, I use a mixture of Neon Pink + Geranium Red + Peach, getting a soft and delicate pink (pink) colour, which is so harmoniously combined with the saturated and contrasting shades of other flowers. The addition of May Green to the mixture gives the petals a slightly greenish shade of freshness, characteristic of the buds that have not yet opened. 

The background, consisting of a mass of green peony leaves, I write wet, using a basic mixture of Blue + Ray Green colours. By changing the proportions of the colours in the mixture, I get a colder or warmer green shade, and by adding Perylene violet, I get a soft shade of cold brown or a deep complex shade of purple.

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