Bye Bye Lavender!

I have been considering creating a herb corner in our backyard for lavender, rosemary, spearmint and thyme both for cooking and for room fragrance. As we have been busy with the new house, though, we missed the opportunity to start planting them so will have to wait till next year. We did, though, experiment with planting lavender this summer for a start, and we must say it worked rather well! Then the last week of August marked the end of the season for it during which time we pruned the plants and saved the flowers. I kept myself busy the past weeks pulling out those flowers and packing them into small organza bags to be used in closets, around the house and by the bedside to help us relax. And now to bid farewell to the lavender season, I thought I’d do a painting!

Creating a Background

First I grabbed my Strathmore Mixed Media Sketchbook and on an empty page scribbled “Bye Bye Lavender”. Sennelier’s Oil Pastels in a dark and lighter shade of violet were used here. Then I went about randomly adding layers of acrylic and colored india ink all over the page, working with a range of greens, yellows and oranges to mark the beginning of autumn. Bits of pink and orange wrapping tissues were then glued on as small collages around the area. I then introduced a cool color like turquoise blue against the existing warm shades to make the painting more interesting. At this point, it was intuitive art as I added layer after layer of colors without any real direction. The only thing I had in mind, though, was somehow fitting in Little One in the picture and hence I purposely left some areas blank.

Little One is Back!

On my desk, I happened to find a torn scrap piece of purple Mulberry paper lying around, the remainder of what I had used for a previous project. Glad it came in handy, and funnily enough, the shape and patterns on the paper was perfect to resemble the dress! And so I glued it on, followed by adding on the head. Something I picked up during Juliette Crane’s painting classes, a circle was cut out from an old newspaper to make it easier to draw the face without the underlying background layer being visible. The face was painted in with my usual blend of Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold and Titanium White. Just for fun, I thought I’d make her hair purple this time to go with the lavender theme. Golden Heavy Body Acrylic in Light Violet was used here. The background meanwhile was further being worked on by more layers of colors to give an impression of being in the wilderness.

Continuing On

The eyes were then painted, this time in purple as well! I used an iridescent shade of cobalt blue mixed with violet with the acrylic paints from Old Holland. At this point I thought having a full head of purple hair along with the eyes and dress would be a bit too much and hence covered some with a layer of Antelope Brown ink. I then scraped a bit on top of it with the sharp end of a cocktail sticks so some of the original purple would somehow shine through. Meanwhile, I was further adding more in the background at the same time. Alternately working on the subject and the background allows me to get a better idea as to how to give more balance between the two.

Finishing Touches

How about a cute crown for Little One? I think that would be cute! I painted one with Golden’s Heavy Body Acrylic in Light Violet, then proceeded to use that paint to add some flowers on the corner of the page to give the painting some balance. Then I once I was done, I decided to finish off the piece with some some glitter glue and a sequin on the crown and more glitter glue on the flowers and of course, Little One’s eyelashes. Realising that the orange bit next to her hand could be a basket, I enhanced that more. She now looks like she could be collecting some lavender from the ground! As such, I dotted in some gouache in Pale Lilac and Metallic Violet, with the remainder of the latter color lightly brushed on her hair. A few more details were then doodled on the leaves with a white gel pen. And now I’m good to go!

What fun it was painting this! The colors look more autumnal and yet with a tinge of summer. That makes a perfect theme for the end of the lavender season and a perfect way to make the violet pop out more too. And now we can see that just because we are approaching autumn there is no reason as to why we can’t continue using vivid colors! I will definitely be creating colorful paintings like this even as we approach the cooler months. And I think Little One will be very happy about that. Doesn’t she look oh so adorable in her lavender-themed attire? As for our Lavender plants, till next year!


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