Wednesday, 25 February 2009

And more detail ...

Today I continued to work on the details of the foreground cacti.

Firstly I added some shadows in a blueish dark green. For this I used Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Yellow Medium and Titanium White, neutralized with a little Burnt Umber.

I wanted to check out the areas on the cacti where they met the ground, as I know that the Cereus jamacaru and the Echinopsis pachanoi are very different at the base. The Cactus House has a couple of good specimens, so off I went.
On the way back from the Cactus House I met this little friend, who was somewhat shy and soon jumped under the hessian to hide!

In the Cactus House I had made some quick sketches confirming aspects of the cacti in question. I just used biro on lined reporter's pad, (Woolworths - quite a relic now!)

While we are on the subject of working tools, here are my paint pots! I cover these acrylic mixtures over with plastic film and bubble wrap at night so that they will not dry out.

My observations in the Cactus House enabled me to continue with the details, and as well as the bases of the cacti, I worked more detail into their shading and structure.

I like to work from vivid to less vivid. With these cacti I had underlaid hues of golden yellow, which I now brushed over with blueish green. Much more lively than just putting the blueish green on first!

The real life cacti are quite greyish in appearance. If I had painted them thus from the beginning, the effect would have been rather dead. By applying layers of complementary colours you create a vibrancy to the painting. More time-consuming, but much much better!

Lastly, before finishing for the day I added more detail into the prickly pear.

Cactus House Mural, University of Durham Botanic Garden

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