Back in March I went to hear my favourite painter Jean Martin talk about her work and methods. She happened to remark how she’d been given flowers for Mothers Day and that had cancelled any plans she may have had for the following day as she now had to capture them in paint before they died.

I know how she feels sometimes. We had friends over for dinner who came with wine (always good :)) and these three exquisite stems from the roses in their garden. A precious and utterly gorgeous gift. What a lovely way to have to rearrange plans because these were too good to miss.

But something was lacking once I’d drawn it out. I have a tendency to fill a space when I draw and these big frothy blooms filled the page easily, but I had a compositional gap – so I added this little china birdie. Spot the difference!

They are just such amazing old-fashioned blousy roses with such beautiful colours.

But what made these flowers so sublime was also what made them a killer to paint. I could see with every passing minute that they were changing shape and deepening in colour minutely.

The race was on so I had to work front to back (which always discombobulates me somewhat!) This was the finish at the end of day 1 – I’ll show you some more tomorrow.