Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sycamore seeds

I spotted these seeds on the ground by our post box a few days ago. I was really struck by the colours but also the fact that I'd never noticed how beautiful they were before now. How did I not notice for the last couple of years?!

I seem to gravitate more towards my little palette of Senneliers when I'm painting plants. It's a botanical set that I saw Billy Showell writing about in a magazine and available from Artifolk (here). I've squeezed them into pans and have them in a little palette so I've found them very convenient. I particularly like their Sap Green (I also like Schmincke's Sap Green too), Cadmium Red Light and Cadmium Yellow Light, they mix and handle so well. I used Carmine Genuine from this set with a little Manganese Violet to darken the edges and enhance the pink. There is a touch of Cadmuim Yellow Orange to warm up the yellow areas - a very light wash - and Winsor & Newton Sepia for the darker brown areas.

The shadow gave me the greatest trouble - as usual! - as it has to be smooth and fade out. That takes a bit of experience and for me at the moment, that's a bit hit and miss. I used Neutral Tint (W&N) which stains, mixed with a touch of Manganese Violet and it was a bit blotchy. I should really go for non-staining colours and mix to suit rather than go for that 'one size fits all' tint!

I haven't had any problems with the Moleskine watercolour paper before, but I did notice a tiny area where I'd pulled out some colour took off some of the surface and it reacted like blotting paper. I guess it doesn't withstand too much abuse, something to remember in the future because I do like this paper.