Fragrant Lilacs Bloom in Watercolour


Every spring I wait with anticipation as trees leaf out and bulbs burst forth in vibrant colour, hoping that against the odds, somehow this year my lilacs will bloom. I have a love/hate relationship with lilacs. I love them, and they hate me. We've lived on this property for thirteen summers and I've had one season of blooms in all that time. That lilac bush didn't survive the dramatic pruning I did to stimulate more blooms. Another lilac bush got a dose of herbicide from my overzealously weeding husband, while the two that remain grow beautifully but never bloom. I vacillate between seeking treatment for them and just letting them do their own thing, at their own pace.

Lilacs are beautiful; the myriad of hues, the grape-clusters of tiny blossoms and the incredible fragrance make them among my favourite flowers. So I may not be able to grow them, but I am always inspired to paint them.

I started this painting session with a sketchy practice painting.

These quick practice paintings are such a great way to start! I find myself really excited about starting the larger version, and a lot more confident after working out my interpretation and direction in practice.

Would you believe my reference photo was of white lilacs? I used seven different blues in this painting. There is something so thrilling in seeing pure colour flow across my paper. One of my objectives is to have every element of the painting hold something lovely and surprising in terms of colour, edges, shape and texture, and as I explore my evolved style, I believe I'm achieving it.

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