Capturing the Essence of Summer Flowers

Q. Summer is here, and I’m interested in painting fields of flowers. Unfortunately, sometimes I get very detailed and tight and the painting has no “life” to it. Any suggestions?

A. Try using masking fluid to capture the essence of flowers rather than their every detail. For instance, in my painting Summer Solstice (watercolor, 22 x 30), I threw masking fluid where I wanted the flowers to be. I splattered and rubbed off the masking fluid, splattered some more, and rubbed off until I felt comfortable about how it would look. Then, I painted over the masking. But there is an art to it. You still have to plan where you’re going to put the masking. As you’re working, think about where the light is coming from, as well as the shapes, values and composition.

Catherine Anderson is a signature member of the National Watercolor Society, Watercolor West and the Rocky Mountain National Watermedia Society. Visit her Web site at

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