Euphorbia {plus red + violet}

I'm getting one in before April closes! It's been way too long since I've posted a sketch.

For weeks now, every time I walk out my front door or pull up to our house, I look over at my neighbor's amazing garden {check out the logo + business card I designed for her landscape business — Horticultural Heritage }. This bright lemony, lime green plant with bunches of little flowers and pointy leaves. I am the furthest from a gardener, so I asked my friend Mary about these when I was at her house the other day — noticing them in her garden. Euphorbia. I told her I had been wanting to paint them for weeks. Finally, I got the chance yesterday while Ezra was wiped out from his 6 month check-up. Uncharacteristically sleeping for hours during the day.

My first attempt {which I may still post} didn't turn out quite right. I didn't use pen and found I couldn't get the detail I wanted. I can't help using pen. After I completed the single stalk, I still needed to pore over the details of the tiny flower — thus the close-ups.

I had planned to paint some red tulips, grape hyacinth and lobelia to balance out all the lime green — to incorporate somehow. Turns out I didn't feel like it. What I was mainly after was to get some of those bright reds and violets I kept seeing on my walks with Ezra and driving Hannah Mae to and from preschool every day — that bright, light violety lavender I was seeing as ground cover. What was that? Oh, lobelia {I had to do a search to find this out...I know nothing about flowers!}.

After I got the euphorbia done with pen + watercolor, I painted blocks of red and violet. First with watercolor. I thought I couldn't get the vibrancy of the violet with my Sumi pan watercolors, so I got out a couple pouches of the Japanese powder watercolors from Midori. I needed more time to figure out how these work. I thought they would perform like my other watercolors, but they are quite different. They dry powdery. I also couldn't get them to flow/blend right. I think I just don't know how to use them. So, I abandoned those {and made a powdery mess on the kitchen table} and turned to my gouache. I love gouache. I can always get the bright, opaque color I am after. Vibrant violet achieved.

I still want to try adding some vector patterning on top of these...maybe another day. Maybe I will still get to the tulips and hyacinth as well.