White tree peonies
2018 version

I didn't manage to find any photo references taken at the same time I made these two sketches, but I do have a dim memory of making the watercolours themselves on my deck, which means both pieces depict blooms from my white tree peony.

watercolour on sketchbook paper, approximately 9x12"; some time between 23–28 may2018; photographed 20feb2020[1]

Fortunately for me, my tree peonies are only semi-double, which is good because I don't get enough sun to support the big bomb style flowers, but also because the layers of petals are a little easier for me to visually figure out. Even so, I find trying to sort out the petals a visually complex task, and you can see that I was getting tired by the time I did the second flower, which is much more sloppily executed.

second sketch, made the same day. Both shot with one-plus 5T phone.

Though over-dark, I think the colour is a little more realistic. As much as I love my shimi-nishiki, I find the interplay between the reflection and translucence of the white flowers endlessly fascinating.

Although neither of these paintings is particularly good, they do represent an effort on my part to go directly to colour, with no pencil layout first.

[1]I wanted to show my niece some examples of how you might represent “white” petals on white paper without using the traditional outline so I photographed these sketchbook pages to show her what I meant. Though there's stll some of that too, of course.