Friday, 27 February 2009

Glaucous and textured

It was time to add some of the glaucous colour and texture to the cacti! I applied a thin layer of Ultramarine Blue mixed with Yellow Ochre, Titanium White and a touch of Cadmium Yellow Medium to parts of the Echinopsis.

Above are two cuttings from Echinopsis pachanoi and Cereus jamacaru. They have been useful in determining the colour of the respective cacti and observing the different shapes. The Cereus is much more angular in cross section than the Echonopsis. Both have a glaucous bloom on their surfaces.

I added more layers of glaucous bloom onto the Echinopsis.

This reminded me of some photographs of trunks I had taken a couple of days ago here in the Botanic Garden. I took the above photo because of the setting sun just gleaming on the edge and the tremendous variation in colours and texture.

The trunk of the Prunus above has such contrasting effects of the shininess with the papery texture. I love the vibrant colour.

The papery edges look like fire when the light from the setting sun shines through them!

Back to the mural, and I work the glaucousness into the Cereus.

Next in line for textural treatment is the Opuntia Robusta. I had already prepared the effect, and now I added more raised texture by applying creamy coloured paint with a narrow bristle brush.

This close up shows the effect.

I had previously worked a little of the trunk and leaves of the Aloe dichotoma on the left, and now started to add more detail.

The long narrow leaves are in rosettes, and I created more depth by emphasising the leaves in the foreground, and adding more in the background in blue-green and mauvey colours.

The honey gold trunk has scales which are now worked in.

While the Aloe is drying, I add some spines to the Echinopsis. I flick these on with the edge of a narrow bristle brush.

In the background to the right of the Cereus is an Aloe buhrii, which was just hinted at. Now I work in some definition on its leaves and flowerheads.

I am pleased that there is a sense of depth emerging, and stand back to have a look at the whole. Time for tea! It's a nuisance having to eat when you're engrossed in a painting, but it'll be good to let it dry before doing any more ...

Cactus House Mural, University of Durham Botanic Garden

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