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‘Mystic Illusion’ Dahlia- Karen A Johnson copyright 2011

I find myself drawn to magenta/purples and yellows lately.  Rounding the corner at Cantigny Park, my friend and I came upon a large bed of ‘Mystic Illusion’ Dahlias and it stopped us in our tracks.  The deep purple foliage combined with the lemon yellow flowers was just stunning.  Since we were there to sketch, we didn’t want to stop at the first flower we saw…but after wandering through the beautiful grounds, the dahlias drew us back like a magnet.  We sketched hurriedly as the weather was being fickle and when I went home I decided the flower was worth more time.  I don’t normally mess with sketches, preferring their loose, spontaneous nature; however, I hadn’t gotten the depth I wanted in the flowers so I decided to work on them some more.  Gouache is wonderful for working on top of watercolor and I added colored pencil to the background as well.