Drawing Flower Art Gouache Painting Still Life

Playing with my flowers


White ink, gouache on black Canford paper 10″x8″ (larger)

I got home from work just as my painting group was arriving for our weekly painting session in my studio. I grabbed a quick bowl of shredded wheat for dinner, fed the cats and plopped this little vase of white flowers on my drawing table.

I looked at the dainty, delicate white flowers, and feeling a little rebellious decided to draw them with white ink (using my favorite white ink pen, a Uni-ball Signo) on black paper, with no idea what I’d do after that. This was a “let’s try this and that and see what happens” sort of thing.

Once I had the drawing I decided to fool around with adding a little gouache. Just for fun I stopped before I’d covered all the petals, leaving some random black spots.

What I discovered is how much fun it is to paint with gouache on a dark background, which I’d never done before. It reminded me of those cool coloring books I always wanted (but rarely got) when I was a kid where you painted with water and the painting appeared magically.

It might have been a “better” painting if I’d paid attention to value, composition, light, etc. but tonight I just felt like playing like a kid, not trying to make a good painting.

Here’s the drawing without the gouache:

Which do you like better?

16 replies on “Playing with my flowers”

They are both really appealing, but the gouached version is magnificent! Especially effective are the leaves in the glass vase. I guess you could have used the black shapes among the blooms to more dramatic effect if this had been a more considered painting, but your “fooling around” here has produced something really special! I would love to see further explorations in this kind if you decide to do any. 🙂


I agree with Anita Davies, Tiffany stain glass,
and it takes my breath away. So the colored
one leads for that reason but I really do
like them both.


White lines on black are fun to do and white pastel/oil pastel/paint on black paper also. The tricky thing is to know when to stop and leave some black showing. When you said you came in from work in a hurry I misread your sentences as – I ate some shredded cat, put out a bowl of wheat, etc.


As much as I like the gouache, I think I prefer the line drawing. They’re both really fun – thanks for the inspiration! Why do we sometimes forget that it’s all about play?


I like them both. I love working on black paper but it has been awhile since I have don so. You just sparked and interest here Jana. thanks


I just loved your gorgeous drawing and colours.I always read your entries hoping to find something new and I am never frustrated Thank you!


Hi Jan

I like both. Very striking. But my favorite is the first one with color.
I asked Josh which one he liked since he has been learning some painting. He said he likes the one without color. The second one.


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