Pinks and clues

In late afternoon, I spot the first shocking pink cyclamen flowers and draw them quickly, in the last of the day's light. Leave them overnight and they'll have been snacked-on by a passing creature. I grab a highlighter. Watercolour alone isn't up to the brightness of these flowers and even as an underlay, highlighter makes the colour zing out. I've taken to using wax resist for cyclamen leaves but today, I draw their patterns, noticing the unique 'fingerprint' of each leaf and the pink edges and stems that are clues to the flowers' colour.

I resume the next day – and out come the highlighters again.

The roses have fresh leaf buds and here are more colour clues, buds tipped with pink; rich reds and purples in the new green growth. As I get my eye in, I notice the mature trunks and branches of the rose, doing their own, grand thing, striped, with big, sculptural thorns.

The rose at the back of the garden, varnished by the rain into deep purple-black-brown, sparkles with moss. As I draw, I find myself with a companion, a neighbouring cat, who comes to investigate my materials and make friends. I'd draw her too but she wants a fuss and attention given, skitters off.

Back to drawing, the ivy, now in full, purple berry, looks at first glance to be at the end of its season. A closer look, though, shows a palette of colour and the lime green of new stem. It'll take some keeping up with as we move into Spring and it's making an early start...

Ballpen, watercolour, fineliner, highlighter on anded-down paper.

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