Apple Blossom Days

Apple Blossom Time

Apple Blossom Days

After a relatively mild and wet winter the blossoms are early this year. The May Bush, or Hawthorn, is in bloom. As the name suggests this normally flowers in the month of May.

Painting flowers requires a paint colour appropriate to the particular flower. The richness cannot be suggested by the ‘dull’ colours I normally use. In this painting, the pink of the apple blossom was achieved by using Alizarin Crimson. The other colours in the painting were Cadmium Yellow, Burnt Sienna and French Ultramarine.

There are a few very strong colours which can dominate a painting and upset the harmony of colour. Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Yellow or Viridian Green are three that come to mind. In the natural world there is a natural harmony of colour. I have found that in a painting just matching what I think I’m seeing and throwing in an array of colour never creates a natural landscape painting. It must be something to do with the fact we are conscious we are not looking at the real thing but an interpretation. We are viewing a rectangle of various pigments playing at being a real world.

The crimson in the middle of a area of green would be a jarring combination of colour. To lessen this unpleasant combination I made the overall colour slightly purple by using French Ultramarine (a purple blue) and spread the crimson as much as possible throughout the entire painting. Viewed on its own its not noticeably purple and the crimson of the blossoms are not out of place or alien to the general scene, but viewed beside the last painting the difference in the overall colouring is very noticeable.

Apple Blossom Time

Apple Blossom Days

Two Gates

Two Gates


I’ve included two thumbnail photos of this painting and the last one to show the overall colours relative to each other. In the previous painting the use of Cadmium Yellow was the issue. In today’s painting, although Cadmium Yellow was also used, its the crimson that would have unhinged the harmony more than the yellow.

Here’s the video. See you soon.


12 thoughts on “Apple Blossom Days

  1. I really enjoy your perspective on color theory and the delicate balance it brings to your pieces. Being aware of it, talking it through, and limiting your palette. As a complete novice, these are things I’m apparently oblivious to.

    I really like the detail of the bricks in front of the tree. The wooden fence may be old, but the scene is older still.

  2. This painting is gorgeous and your explanation is brilliant. Your sensitivity to colour blows me away, it is something I can only dream of. If I lived near you I would ask you to be my mentor…not in subject but in technique. In great admiration…J

  3. Nice work and I love to see that spring still exists. I envy you at this moment. It was 78 degrees two and three days ago, and this morning there is snow once again on the ground here in Indiana. Spring is about 3 weeks late here. Keep sharing the great work.

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