Peony by Lynne Henderson

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I’m pleased to start another series of paintings by a fellow author. I admire Lynne Henderson as an author (writing as Lynne Fisher) and was delighted to find out that she also is a consummate painter. Without further ado, I’ll let Lynne introduce her work.

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Paeonia Officinalis, watercolour on paper, 13 by 17’’

(A botanical illustration of a peony from my garden, painted from life.)

When I came back to art, after leaving it behind in childhood, it was on a week’s botanical illustration course in the 90s with a lovely tutor. I can still remember his name — Michael Hickey. After developing the watercolour methods and illustrative style over many years, this painting is probably one of my best – a painting of a peony shrub on stretched ‘hot pressed’ (very smooth) paper, which was growing in my garden. I used reference photographs and sections of the plant to develop a composition beginning with drawing in the heads and working the stems in from there. The initial pencil drawing has to be intensely precise and light in touch. Then the watercolour layers are slowly built up from light to dark tones, developing the shading, three-dimensional structure, and shadow overlaps after the initial colour washes are laid down. It is a highly time-consuming, controlled method of painting with little spontaneity involved. The only spontaneity can come in the composition, and here it came for me when I added the spent seed head and dropped petals onto the lower leaves – my favourite part!

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Paeonia Officinalis by Lynne Henderson
Watercolour on paper

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© HMH, 2021

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