The Perennial Daisy

A patch of daisies has started to bloom in my city garden, and I am prompted to make this cheery flower the subject of this week’s color exploration. The prompting came from a variety of angles. Jean Mackay posted an image done in negative painting technique on IG that encouraged slowing down to paint, I was sent some botanical information on daisy varieties which got me thinking about my daisy variety and then a dive into the history of this simple flower created a real daisy chain of information.

From around 2,200 B.C., daisies were among the flowers that grew in ancient Egyptian temple gardens.

This small daisy mold is from the reign of Amenhotep III, dated 1390-1353 B.C. (Metropolitan Museum, Pottery, Palace of Amenhotep III, MMA 1910-11 excavations)

The history of the daisy is as complex as the daisy itself. The daisy is a composite flower – the inner is the disc floret, and the outer part is the ray florets / petals – capitula is the botanical term. The Egyptians grew daisies for herbal and medicinal properties, the plant was named in the Middle Ages ‘daes eage’ [meaning days eye] as a cure for eye problems, daisies eased the gout of King Henry VIII, there are stories of the daisy woven into Nordic fertility myths, and the daisy has been used symbolically for purity and innocence in art, advertising and photography.

My simple watercolor today is a little negative painting. The color selection and swatch process I started with is as per Brenda Swenson. A few years ago, she was teaching at Daniel Smith in Seattle. Since negative painting is all about glazing, (you want transparent not opaque colors) she suggests testing your colors for transparency before you start with a simple test.

With a permanent marker draw a line across a piece of watercolor paper. Paint over the line. Look at the paint over the line, if the line is obscured at all it is opaque

Brenda Swenson

After the paint test for transparency, I tested for color mixing wet into wet. She encourages placing the darkest darks near the lights to intensify the focal area.

The always perky perennial favorite – Shasta Daisy.

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