Thursday, 23 April 2015

See the Light, Go Dark

Crikey! I can't believe it has been over a week since my last post. After a whimsical weekend last week and a few more days enjoying the unseasonably warm weather in my garden here in Hampshire, it's been a little too relaxed here at Squirrel HQ. Time to brace up and get back to those leaves. So, what progress have I made?  

Well, I have made a start on another group of leaves. Here I have got at least the first wash on three and have worked up two with further washes and some detail. To achieve the cool areas I used a mix of Indanthrene Blue and Lemon Yellow with a touch of Anthraquinone Red. For the warmer, fresher greens I used Ultramarine Blue Light with Sennelier Yellow Light and Perylene Maroon. Leaving lots of highlighted areas gives the suggestion of the sheen on the leaves. 

Showing different stages of wash. 
The bumpy appearance is achieved by allowing colour to settle more heavily towards the middle
of a leaf section.
Pulling the paint off the paper to create highlights in places adds further characteristic 'bumpiness' and
dropping in either a fresh or cool green gives further tonal variation. 

With very pale flowers, such as those on brambles, I like to make sure that one or two have a darker backdrop of leaves. With just the white of the paper, pale flowers tend to get a bit lost and it is very easy to get too heavy handed with the shading trying to bring them forward. But, give them a lovely dark ground to work against, and 'pop', there they are. They really throw themselves forward and actually look paler. It's a clever trick of the eye that artists can use to their advantage. And I'm all for that. 

The darkest greens have been mixed using the strong green mixes
 with a touch more blue and yellow.

I always remember the advice of using the colours from my existing palette
and using the same proportions of Blue, Yellow and red to get Black.

The colour can be adjusted with more of the yellow, red or blue to create cool, warm or fresher neutrals and blacks.
See the links below for more on this     

Of course, with any painting, what we are all trying to achieve is the best range of tonal values that we possibly can. In the past, I have always been a bit tentative with the depth of the darkest tones, holding back just a bit too much and not quite achieving the look I hoped for. However, since I had something of an epiphany, I knew I needed to up the ante. After some practise, trial and error and some scary moments, the darkness now holds no fear for me. Mixing almost black colours and just getting them in there really can transform a painting. But, I always do this last, to ensure the balance doesn't go 'over the edge'. See the light, go dark.

I think this area might just be finished now.

Ooh, maybe just a little more.
Remembering advice. Detail, detail, detail. Oh, and just a bit more detail.

I'll wait until the end and then go back to see where I can adjust.
This weeks has seen a few workshops too, and tomorrow I am off for another drive in the country. Yes, it's back to Roots, Shoots and Leaves for the first of the spring workshops, There will be plenty of gorgeous subjects to choose from in the garden, and a group of eager students will be ready and waiting to pick up their brushes. Really looking forward to the day there as it's a stunning location and the welcome is always warm.  

And lastly, welcome to the new followers here on the blog. Thank you for being a wonderful bunch of troopers by signing up to follow along. Always much appreciated, and I hope you enjoy your visits.

Further 'Dark' Reading


Polly said...

Wonderful post Jarnie, and lovely to see this painting develop. It's really starting to sing!

Janene said...

It is interesting to see how the blossom looks lighter with a dark background--thanks for pointing that out! I am enjoying watching your progress on this!