November 24th, 2015

Daffodil Days

Artist: Shevaun Doherty, Ireland
Artist Statement: [Ed: The following is reposted from a blog post first published by the artist in April, 2014…/04/daffodil-days.html ]

Golden daffodils are always the first to appear each year, heralding the start of spring and the promise of warmer brighter days. Daffodils would certainly make a statement, but they were also going to be a challenge, not least because they are yellow. Yes, I know that I’ve grumbled about greens before, but yellow is a tricky pigment too. How do you depict subtle hue changes and the delicate nuances of light and shade, when you can’t mix in another colour? Yellow mixed with any other colour is just not yellow.

The answer is layering. You need to paint the underlying shade tone first and very lightly build up the form of the flower in soft greys. I found that my daffodils had two shades of grey- one leaning to green (cerulean+ cobalt violet+ perylene green) and the other leaning to purple (cerulean+ cobalt violet + light red). Once you have established the form of the flower, you can then paint over with washes of yellow.

Once I have drawn out my flower, I paint over the pencil lines with a thin line of the paint and then erase the pencil lines. I used lemon yellow, Winsor & Newton lemon and Winsor yellow as my cooler yellows, whilst cadmium yellow, Winsor yellow deep and Winsor orange provided the warmer tones of the corona.

The result is a page of happy daffodils. I think it’s a bit looser than my normal style but I quite like that. “And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils.“ (William Wordsworth).

MEDIA: Watercolor
SURFACE: Zeta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Smooth Finish

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Shevaun Doherty is a botanical artist living in Dublin. She first began to paint in watercolours whilst living in Egypt. Inspired by the beautiful flora and fauna of the Middle East, she studied botanical art with the Society of Botanical Artists, graduating with a distinction and becoming a full SBA member in 2014. Since then she has exhibited in Ireland, Spain, Germany and the UK, and has won numerous prizes for her work. She is now a tutor for London Art College and the SBA. Using art to raise awareness about conservation is something that she feels passionate about, and recently designed the cover image and logo for The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan. She writes a weekly blog about botanical art Email:

Daffodils by Shevaun Doherty


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