Wednesday 4 April 2012

[TIPS] Garlic and Scapes: Using White Watercolour Paint

It is said that painting white object, such as the garlic bulb, requires subtle colour mixing and careful observation of shadows. This piece was one of my practice to paint white vegetable. I learned the subtle colour mixing from Billy Showell's book, 'Watercolour Fruit & Vegetable Portraits' that my husband bought for my birthday present.

The basic shadow mixes were French Ultramarine, Cadmium Yellow Pale, Cadmium red deep (2:1:1). I added a small amount of Alizarin Crimson or Permanent Rose or Cadmium Lemon to give it warm feeling.

Another new thing I learned by doing this piece was NOT to be afraid to use white paint. Yes, I understand that it is a tradition to always stay away from white paint and only leave the white paper for whites. Yes, the white paint is opaque. It is not transparent as the 'nature' of watercolour. It won't give us bright or crisp colour but I found that it works well for a special purpose.

I used the white paint (W&N Cotman Chinese White) on this piece. It gave the wax bloom effect on the garlic scapes (only for the scapes, I didn't use white on the garlic bulb). The Chinese White tends to make a dull blueish color, but it was great to have a powdery/ dusty-white coating that gives the scapes a glaucous appearance.

My tips on white washing: 
1.  Making sure the previous colouring is final and strong enough. Slightly darker is better since the white paint will lessen the final colour. Let all paint and paper completely dried.
2. Glazing the area you want to paint with clean water then apply a fairy wash of the white paint. The white will fade out quite much and reveal some details underneath.
3. You can repeat the white wash but be careful not to put too much pressure on it. Because doing so will dissolve the paint layer underneath. It can be muddy.

White Watercolour Paint for Waxy Scapes

Tuesday 3 April 2012

A Drawing Class with Sarah Simblet

In April 2012, I was fortunate to join Sarah Simblet's drawing class. It was held by the Florilegium Society in Sheffield Botanical Garden. Sarah brought with her plenty of interesting insights, hilarious stories during her books making and her original drawings. They are so lively, detailed and precise. Her book, 'Botany for Artist', is a great guide to draw anatomically correct for any botanical artist.