Wednesday, 23 October 2013

No. 3 Collections Series....More Park Life

I'm a bit behind for reasons explained later but here's the painting started last week .... finally finished late last night. It's yet another small painting on vellum of objects found in Queens Park, Staffs.

No. 3 More Park Life, Horse Chestnut and Oak finds. Size 7 x 5, watercolour on  Kelmscott vellum
No 3. Detail
 Been a funny week having had some problems painting due to troublesome hand injury from a while back. Painting seems to aggravate it so a few days off were required. I think we painters need to be careful with the hands because of repetitive strain problems. So last week I started a blog post on patterns in nature instead.... this has turned into a much larger project than expected and is now ongoing....sometimes ideas just grow arms and legs! I'll post it sometime up ahead!
Yesterday I finally decided to take up the paint brush again and finish Collection piece no. 3 before the leaves broke up completely. I normally put the leaves into a plastic bag and spray them with water and place outside (when it's cool) but forgot over the weekend!

Another point worth mentioning is that these paintings on vellum are very difficult to photograph. The light isn't great today but it's not right to make the background to white on a painting on vellum, because it's not a true representation....the vellum being an integral part of the painting. I'm afraid these images have come out rather blue so I'll try to photograph them again on a better day. I don't much care to see watercolour backgrounds taken too white either because the paper isn't really that white. I think the basic rule when to adjusting an image in a photo editing programme, such as Photoshop is that you need a fairly decent photograph to start with.....that all comes down to having good natural light. Bit like painting really.

I might add the colours to this post later. The New Gamboge works a treat on the rich golden yellows on the Horse chestnut leaves though.

 Ok here are the colours:
Horse chestnut leaf: First wash: Transparent Yellow and Burnt Sienna.
Dry brush with green, a mix of Fr Ultramarine and Transparent Yellow
Add veins, Burnt sienna and raw Umber for brown veins adding in Indanthrene Blue for the darker central vein. A more concentrate mix of the green mix for green veins.
For the areas where the light shines through the leaf, creating a more intense yellow, I used New Gamboge with a tiny amount of Permanent rose in places.
Shadow, a warm the brown mix as above with more blue and a little Permanent Carmine. 
Build up the colours and model the surface of the leaf using dry brush.
Add details and blemishes using the various brown mixes as appropriate.
 Oak Leaf
First wash.  A mix of Permanent Carmine and transparent yellow was used for the initial brown colour.
A mix of Transparent Yellow and Sap Green was used for the light green wash. A little green Gold was added in the more yellow areas.  For the dark blemishes I used Indanthrene Blue and Permanent Carmine.  The browns were built up using Burnt Sienna and added Neutral Tint in the darkest areas

Green Acorns
Very light wash of Cerulean Blue and Cobalt Blue. Build up colour varying the mix and using the Cerulean for the highlight and reflected light. Use dry brush in a drawing style to delineate the indents and ridges on the acorn. Raw Sienna was used for the browns

Actual conker, an initial wash of Gold Ochre and Scarlet Lake was applied first leaving the highlight clear. Cerulean Blue and Cobalt violet was used for the reflected light areas. Burnt Sienna and was used to build up the colour and some ultraviolet added for the richer brown areas.

Shadow was ultraviolet and Cobalt Blue.
Conker exterior green, a  mix of Cobalt Blue and Lemon Yellow.
Dark Blemishes,  a mix of Indanthrene Blue plus Permanent Carmine plus a very small quantity of Transparent Yellow. 
The flesh, A combination of Lemon yellow, Cerulean Blue and Raw Umber.


  1. I am enjoying your collections series very much--this is another beautiful example!

  2. Good tip about putting the leaves in a plastic bag and spray them with water, I'll try that. Leaves are so hard to paint so they'll take days for me, if I do them at all :-)

  3. I found my vellum again this weekend and am so ready to try it out again. I must dig through your posts for all your vellum tricks. Thanks so much for sharing!

    BTW, I like it better without the shadows ;)