1. Painting white flowers in watercolor is a tough challenge because nothing is actually painted white! The bright white paper must be left unpainted to depict petals in the light. Shadows are a surprising palette of blue, green, gold and a hint of pink.
The blue lines and dots are masking fluid used to save the very small areas of white that are difficult to paint around. I began with a light glaze of yellow on the buds, stamens and a few leaves to create a lively glow that shows through when other colors are layered over top.
Casa Blanca - white oriental lily watercolor demonstration
3. Petals begin to develop form with blue-gray shadows. Flowers begin to stand out as the greens deepen in the leaves and buds in the background. Masking fluid is applied to protect the edges of the pistil and stamens.
2. Greens begin to define the leaves, buds and deepest shadows of the lilies.
4. A cerulean blue background softens the impact of the leaves and buds while revealing a nearly cloudless sunny day as the source of bright light.
Tiny pearls seem to appear as the last of the masking fluid is removed from the bumps and creases in the main flowers; so characteristic of oriental lilies.
5. The shadows are further deepened and the powdery, deep rust-colored pollen is the last defining element. If only one could paint the essence of the sweet fragrance wafting on the air around the plants.
A dense planting of pure white oriental lilies on huge stalks, stretching to four feet, is an impressive sight. An invisible cloud of sweet, heady fragrance hovers over the blossoms for several weeks in July.
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