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This week I’ve been getting outside for some plein air studies of the sunflowers growing in my backyard.  I love sunflowers!  Yesterday it was hot, cloudy and muggy, and in between some surprising spats of light rain, I managed a quick study of the sunflowers.  This was my first time with my new gouache palette setup.  I’ve switched to a large open palette so I have a large open area to mix my colors, and I can already tell it’s going to make such a huge difference in my painting.  I’ve always worked with a palette with separate little circles and squares, and it limited my capacity to mix a large amount of pigment and blend with neighboring mixes.  I got this idea from watching a course from the Tucson Art Academy by Andy Evansen, a master watercolor artist.  It seems so obvious now, but I never thought of it because I just used the traditional palettes they sell for watercolor mediums.  Now I have my paints laid out around the perimeter like in a traditional oil painting palette.  It’s a whole new world!


After laying down my preliminary sketch in pencil, I lightly erased the pencil lines and then began painting, starting with the lightest values of the sunflower petals.  I ended with the darkest values in the center of the sunflower.  I did not have an exact process I was following.  I mostly focused on capturing the correct colors and laying them down quickly and loosely.  Because the gouache dries much lighter it’s difficult to get the exact values, and if I had time I would have gone back into the leaves to deepen them, but it started raining again so I decided that was good enough for today!


sunflower gouache art brianna lamar

Click below to see the rest of my photos….

sunflower sketch laydown

plein air painting study sunflowers garden

gouache palette layout


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