Kerrie Woodhouse

Whimsical words and watercolour

What to do when you long for spring

Series of the MonthKerrie Woodhouse

When you long for those bright happy blooms of the warmer weather but winter is seeming  particularly persistent, what else is there to do but paint yourself some spring?

I usually love winter but it can leave you feeling restricted, closed in. Splashing paint about felt like just the thing to open up to the expansiveness of spring. Especially if the painting is of loose expressive flowers.


One of my favourite flowers from childhood is the sweet pea. I painted them in one wash. Then I spent a fair bit of time deliberating whether or not to go back in once it is dry and do a bit of negative painting to bring out some of the petal shapes. I decided to leave them just as they were (showing remarkable restraint...) 


This seems so much more true to the personality of these particular flowers.

Take me as I am. No fuss. Just abundant folds and colour. They are liberation. Playfulness. Joy. To go back and fiddle about seems to do them an injustice. They are not the primping and preening sort of flower.

There is something captivating about the sort of flowers that present themselves in an unapologetic tumble of colour. That is how I would like to be.

Unapologetically colourful.

Joyfully messy, a little haphazard, and totally okay with that.


I think it is why I so enjoy painting in such a loose fashion and that I choose watercolour. Watercolour is no one’s slave. It will collaborate with you if you let it. For that you have to learn the lesson it offers.

Surrender to what it is.

Go with the flow. 

Let it be.  

Such lessons are only learned with the passing of time.

Even the sweet pea begins its life as a tight bud. It takes time to loosen up and be free. 


It doesn't seem possible for me to spend a month painting flowers without including my favourite - tulips.


In trying to be what we think we ought to be I feel more like the structural flowers like a tulip (my favourite). 

The tulip is sophisticated in its shape and form in its early days.  Simple, elegant but restrained.  And then as it matures it opens and softens. It loses that polished look, yes, for sure. But it gains a different kind of charm. Each crease and undulation makes the flower unique - distinguishing it from the others in the bowl. It is different yet no less lovely for its age. Aging gracefully.


So what should you do if you long for spring?

Bring it to you.

Paint something joyful (if that's your thing).

Or give yourself a permanent bunch of flowers - painted ones! 

Click here to explore floral paintings in the shop.