Saturday, August 2, 2014

Colorful Greens

Birds of Paradise, 8x10" ink and watercolor on Fabriano HP
As I prepared to paint these birds of paradise, I realized that I should try to make the greens more colorful than I usually do.  I had been reading Penny Soto's book Painting Glowing Colors in Watercolor in which she demonstrates a technique for underpainting then overpainting your subjects.  While I am familiar with underpainting, I am just now realizing how fun it is to make them really colorful!

Colorful underpainting complete
After drawing in the shapes of the leaves and flowers, I had some fun with underpainting the leaves.  I actually did two layers of underpainting.  The first layer was a very light wash of greenish yellow (New Gamboge + Manganese Blue Nova), with touches of Organic Vermillion, Quinacridone Rose, and Phthalo Blue RS mixed in to my wet washes.  This first layer was meant to show through for the light stems and veins of the leaves.  The second layer of underpainting was really fun, where I deepened the colors on the parts of the leaves between the veins.  Here I used a base of Winsor Violet and added Phthalo Blue for the deeper areas and Quinacridone Rose for the lighter areas (blending into clear water).

The photo shown with the underpainting complete also includes a dark background mix of all above colors.

Once the underpainting was complete, I worked on the colors in the flowers (mostly New Gamboge with some Organic Vermilllion), then the overpainting on the leaves.  For the leaf overpainting I mixed up a green from New Gamboge and Phthalo blue and lightly washed that over the leaf shapes.  The lighter areas got either mostly water or mostly New Gamboge, where the deeper areas got a higher concentration of the blue.

Once I was satisfied with the painting, I used my rapidograph pen to make the ink lines.

Photo credit for the birds of paradise goes to Nicke Reeves Payne.