Summer garden

Late Summer Garden, watercolour, (28x28cm)

Learn how to simplify a garden scene to paint using a variety of watercolour techniques and just four colours with Julie King.

Japanese anemones are one of my favourite plants, blooming from late summer until autumn. With elegant, cup-and-saucer shaped flower heads, depending on their growth stage, these delicate flower heads are supported by slender, yet strong stems, giving height and interest to a garden. Every year, when on a local walk, these white anemones catch my eye, standing proudly in front of an attractive little lodge house.

On the day I took the reference photograph, see below, the sun was catching the lodge, giving a dappled effect on the roof and wall and the white anemones stood out brightly against the mass of foliage behind.

I decided to approach the scene by simplifying the background to form a base for the flowerheads, stems and leaves. Once a hint of the building was in place using complementary yellow and mauve shades, I unified the background by adding the dominant colours of pink, blue and green.

Once dry, I suggested a minimal amount of detailing behind the anemones with wet-on-wet and wet-on-dry techniques and finally I applied the detailing to the flowerheads, stalks and leaves.

Garden reference photo

Reference photo

Demonstration: late Summer Garden

Watercolour paints