Luscious and blowsy

It's become a bit of a Fathers' Day tradition to get peonies for my Dad – they're his favourite flowers.

In fact, I love to give flowers to my friends who are men, as it seems they rarely receive them!

But aren't these gorgeous?

White tones can be difficult to achieve in paintings, as they can so easily look too flat and bright.

Looking at these peonies, I can see the softest hints of rose pink mixed with creamy, swirling shades of pale buttermilk. I would not normally think to contrast such delicate colours with the striking, deep burgundy and glossy bottle-green of the petal cases and leaves, yet that's exactly what Nature has done here.

It makes me think of a tightly buttoned, burgundy and green Edwardian-style velvet coat, with layers and layers of cream coloured silk petticoats spilling out underneath...