White Azaleas in Blue Pot

White Azalea
White Azalea in Blue Pot, original oil painting
Azalea in Blue Pot, © Jean Wilkey, oil on panel, 10×8 in. Click to share or purchase.

I bought this beautiful white Azalea as soon as I saw it. Or maybe it’s a Rhododendron. I’m not really sure. I didn’t notice that the tag was missing until I got home. So I can only guess at what it is and how to care for it.

I set it in a pot that was a gift on my 40th birthday from dear friends. I think of them always when I see it and still cherish it.

In this painting I wanted to create a focus with the light and let the flowers fade into the background. White is hard to paint since it subtly reflects colors around it and the values are so close together.

I began by toning the panel with a washy under-painting to block in the composition. I proceeded wet in wet using mostly a palette of Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Umber, Yellow Ochre and Titanium White. I also used a touch of Manganese, and Quinacridone Magenta for the colors on the pot.

Azalea oil painting step by step animationHere’s a quick gif of my process.

I probably also used only one brush or maybe two for the entire painting. I have a tendency to do that, although it’s not particularly good technique. You really should have duplicate brushes of the same sizes and types so you can switch brushes when you switch colors. So, one for dark colors like blues and greens, one for light colors like yellows, etc. You get the idea. It keeps your color cleaner and preserves the bristles in your brush since you don’t have rinse in mineral spirits between colors to keep it clean it.

oil painting brushesOf course, I wouldn’t mind acquiring all those brushes, but I think I’d still end up dipping them into the all the same colors anyway!

Do you use different brushes for different colors?