Monday, 21 July 2014

Painting the Clematis, and a Tribute

Well, having beaten the block and finally got something finished, here's a kind of step-by-step to how I finally got this little clematis study finished.

After the first washes of Winsor Violet, Permanent Rose and Indanthrene Blue had gone on, I built up a number of wash layers, to increase the tone and depth of colour. leaving a few paler areas to reflect light and give a greater number of tonal values, I worked on the darker areas to give body and depth to the creases and folds of the petals. Working quite dry with a mix of Indanthrene and Rose, I added plenty of colour to the darkest areas, ensuring the brighter rose tones underneath shone through. after all, with all the base work going on, I didn't want to lose them.

Adding a  light glaze of water over the lines, wrinkles and detail brought
everything together nicely and softened the appearance. 

Lots of fine lines for the details on the petals in a darker purple mix gave the character of the clematis and added to the roundness of the fold. using a size 0 brush with a lovely fine point, and quite a dryish mix ensured each line could be carefully applied. I quite like adding these little details and finer points, as it feels at this point that this piece really comes together and brings out the, 'personality' of the subject that I am looking for. More layers of lemon and a greyish-lilac mix washed over the underside of the petals kept the lighter feel, and added the reflective tones and distinctive silvery colour.        

The underside of the petals have a greyish-purply tone.
A mix of the purple colour with a little Light Red knocked back the brightness
and gave a nice, complimentary shadow mix.  

Working a little more lemon into the lighter areas, gave the suggestion of
reflective light from the stamens.

A light, final glaze of Permanent Rose brightened the finished petal.  

The top two thirds of the stem was very dark, as the shadow from the left hand petal fell right across it. Mixing the colours of a very deep olive green with a slight purple tone to it, and a brighter, fresher green for the rest of the stem, I kept the darker colour just to the top two thirds and kept lots of lighter colour to the rest of the stem, allowing the darker colour to stretch down the back edge, giving the shadow against the light.

The darkest areas of the stem appeared almost purple-black.

The edges of the leaves are kept quite light
as they are facing into the light source. 
Some of the mixes deployed, including the greens.

Looking at this finished little study, I must admit to using a number of new approaches that I am really excited about using. More dry washes and layers, rather than wet-on-wet has given greater control and clarity to the colours that I am really please with. And increasing my tonal values by including much darker tones, has really lifted the piece and added to the three dimensional look that we all strive for. Of course the Ox-gall liquid has really improved the flow value of paint and washes, and I have found, does a lot of the work for me.  

Lots of new techniques have given my
painting style a new zest and lift.

In fact, thinking about this little piece, I would like to dedicate it to one of my greatest friends and mentors who sadly lost her battle with cancer a couple of years ago, (she would tell me off for being sentimental, but here goes anyway). Mo Baren was a great teacher and a very dear friend, who helped me during my early teaching years. Although I moved on, we always stayed in touch. Every year I would get the low-down on her latest adventures and exploits. Her zest for life was a true inspiration, (she bought a superbike when she became ill, and why not!!). We used to laugh about how as retired teachers, we would be very badly behaved and she always maintained that when she got old, this would be her, growing old disgracefully. Sadly she never got the chance, but here's to you Mo, you know how I love a good purple.  


When I am an old woman I shall wear purple

With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Jenny Joseph



Maria la Montagne said...

Beautiful purple!
It reminds me of summer at the sea side . My father used to waer a purple swim short!
We called him the cardinals short!
I love the "warning story!!!

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

Thanks Maria. Glad it has brought back happy memories for you too. I love purple.