The Ranunculus — Revisited

My year began with ranunculus. Perhaps you remember how confused and disoriented I felt at the start of 2022 as I searched online for information about Sketchbook Revival. I was under the impression that the workshops would begin at the first of the year. Nope. The program is always in March, I’ve since learned.

But I had a horrible case of FOMO — the fear of missing out. I was sure other artists were gathering to watch videos and that, somehow, I’d been overlooked when information had been sent. I was frantically searching Facebook groups and online sites.

I didn’t find Sketchbook Revival, of course, but I did come across a floral challenge. Still dazed and confused, I thought perhaps this challenge was taking the place of Sketchbook Revival. It wasn’t. I breathed a sigh of relief, then looked at the challenge. I was already a few days late for the official start date of this “New Year’s Floral Challenge”, but I jumped right in… or tried to, at least. It took me a while to find all the information and get it in order.

Long story short — I ended up drawing a bouquet of ranunculus flowers as the first of my “Floral Challenges”. I did this drawing very quickly, still in a state of disorientation. I actually had fun with this simple line drawing done with watercolor pencils and black ink.

Even now, every time I see this drawing, I smile. I love the simplicity of it. I love the playful design of the blooms, and I love the gentle colors.

I smiled again during my recent “15-Day Floral Challenge” when on Day 11 the prompt given was “Radiant Ranunculus”. I knew what a ranunculus flower looked like, and I wondered how an oil pastel painting would compare to my “New Year’s” ranunculus. I looked forward to “revisiting” the flower and seeing what I could do.

Here’s what I painted with my oil pastels.

“Radiant Ranunculus”

I like ranunculus because they look so delicate. I enjoyed making this because it was a chance to play with color variations again as I blended my oil pastels. I don’t find this painting as playful and fun as the one I did earlier in the year, but that’s all right. It’s good, I think, when we take the same subject and approach it in a different way, much like I did with a drawing project a few months ago.

I’m definitely a different artist now than I was in January. This ranunculus shows that, I think. And what I do love about this — although it’s difficult to see the colors in the image here — is the way I used blue watercolor to create a loose, flowing background. It probably makes no sense, but I hope it adds to the “glass vase” effect. Maybe. Maybe not.

Either way, creating these loose watercolor backgrounds is becoming part of my “style” when doing these florals in oil pastel. You’ll be seeing it again in other paintings.

When this year began I had no idea that 2022 was destined to become a year of flowers for me, but again and again, that’s what I find myself drawing and painting. It’s taken me in a slightly different direction from my usual landscape oil paintings, and I think it’s good for me to try different things even as I continue with my landscapes. Every new technique I try gives my “artist brain” a bit more information, a little more knowledge that I might be able to use later on.

Yep, I still like my January ranunculus much better than the May ranunculus, yet I’m glad to have revisited this fascinating flower in my art.


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