Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Beware the Protea

What was that I said yesterday, "might try the protea again"? I became obsessed with getting those stamens. I was using so many layers of watercolours, I even had to move onto some canvas paper (4) and some water colour paper (11 & 12) rather than my (rather cheap) sketchbook. I even remembered I had some inktense blocks to use. The first set of photos are part way through ...

... and these are the same 4 pictures after I called a truce ... (with the Protea stamens).

My brain was exhausted. With my reading of Betty Edwards "Drawing on the right side of the Brain" book, I finally realised that the task of "playing" with the effects of different media (with my science background this became "experimenting" with layers and effects) was being controlled by my left brain, and the drawing was right brain. I became very frustrated and confused, and it turned out to be not such an enjoyable session. I think I even started to lose sight of it being a flower.
A flower sits up in the air - why did this one end up needing to sit on a surface?

Anyway, I learnt that it was good to start with a dark ground layer. Dark inktense blocks on wet paper did this well. Once it is dry, the ink is permanent & doesn't bleed any more. Then the red went on in sharp strokes onto dry paper - mix the reds up, and brush over each stroke with a wet brush to dissolve the ink onto the page. Lastly the pale colours for the highlights. Inktense pencils would have been better than the blocks for this. I have a white chinagraph pencil, and its great for drawing a white line over all sorts of surfaces, & worked well here. The layers and variety of colour and stroke thickness seemed to provide the keys for "success". These wouldn't win any prizes for Botanical illustration - but thats not what I set out to do.

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