Drawing with paint

I found two leaves on the front steps in the past few days, full of autumn colours – Burnt Siena, Gamboge, Hookers Green, Sap Green and yellows.
I laid out my watercolour palettes and began to draw in paint. First, I defined the shape in a light yellow, then added greens and rusty browns in a loose wash. When the painting dried, I took up my paintbrush again and I brought in detail, added the fascinating green spots and veins, serrated the leaf edge, all the while keeping the colours fresh.
When I came back an hour later when the paint should have been dry, I saw that the two leaves were popping out of the white page and needed a background.
If I had used the colour of the front steps, the leaves would not have been visually understandable – it was the wrong colour. So I mixed a lovely grey from burnt sienna, magnesium blue and added some other colours that needed to be used up from my palette – in sufficient quantity to paint a large area.
On the first go round, with a large brush, the grey wash looked flat. It needed texture. I painted some wet indigo into the damp background.
Then I brought out the kitchen salt shaker and sprinkled into the wet wash.
It’s a fascinating process. The colours settle and separate. Unexpectedly, some reds became visible. The colour pools.
I believe that an artist must constantly challenge her/himself to paint directly from objects, to challenge one’s observation, to test one’s motor control and to work at mixing and choosing colours. It’s what keeps paintings fresh and lively.

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2 Responses to “Drawing with paint”

  1. Chris Miller Says:

    Fresh and lively – yes, it certainly is.

    The background feels like the rough textures on a Japanese pot — while the leaves assert themselves with leafy strength and volume. A nice day you had there!

  2. lookingforbeauty Says:

    Thanks Chris.
    You can tell that Autumn has thoroughly settled in. It’s grey and rainy. We get two of rain and then one of scudding clouds. Some of the falling leaves are beautiful. Others are just muddy brown.
    I guess I’ll have to rake them soon…

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