Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Rose Petals: Playing with New Colours

Finally I've got the reason to try some new paints I bought long time ago. The reason was a bunch of rose petals of Sheffield Botanical Garden. Quite simple objects to play with colours.

Before I painted them, I compared the petals' colours side by side with my radial colour charts/wheels. I singled out the closest colours by rotating them out from the stacks.

The new paints I used:
1. Daniel Smith Quinacridone Red for the red splotch of white round petal (see the middle left petal in the final work).
2. W&N Red Deep for the colour mix of the middle bottom red petal. It has a wide tonal range and spread in wetted area smoothly.
3. W&N Scarlet Lake for the colour mix of the reddish-orange petal in the center. A very vibrant colour!
4. W&N Quinacridone Magenta
5. W&N Permanent Magenta.

Sadly, I failed to digitalise the painting :( I tried to scan it several times but the vibrant reds kept losing the details and made ugly, uneven gradations. This is what I can share from my camera. Enjoy! :)

Thursday, 10 July 2014

A Painting Class with Rachel Pedder-Smith

Thanks to Husband for taking care our baby. Hence, I could enjoy my "me time" by joining Rachel Pedder-Smith's workshop. It was held by the Florilegium Society in Sheffield Botanical Garden on Monday, 7 July 2014.

In the beginning, Rachel presented a very interesting slideshow and prints of her works. I was mesmerised mostly by her paintings of the herbarium specimens (dried-pressed plants) of the Kew Garden. They are massive and GRAND (I do mean it when I say grand!). One of them was a 5 meters long. It contained very well composed of 700 specimens of 504 families of the plant kingdom. It was a fascinating assortment, from tiny Amborella (the oldest and most “primitive” plant family) to a leaf of passion fruit that was collected by Charles Darwin himself. She explained that it took 766 days to complete this scientifically accurate and exquisite painting. What a labour of love! *Please check this out to see how fascinating the work.

Rachel did a quick demonstration of painting an Afzelia seed before she gave us 2-3 hours and her favorite paper, Saunders Waterford hot pressed paper, to work on our seeds/pods under her care.

And I painted these.. :)

Saturday, 7 June 2014

[Tips] Making Radial Colour Charts

An idea hit me 2 days ago when I saw a pile of my leftover watercolour papers. What if I can turn them into a radial colour chart? After a little research on how to make a stack of papers rotatable, I made some for my self and I think it is a fun activity to share with my fellow botanical artists. The colour charts are really useful for our painting reference and, as we all know, we need to manage a load of colour charts, which keep growing over the time.
Tools: Cutter, ruler, hole punch plier, split brassed paper fastener.

Step by step:
1. I cut my favorite watercolour papers, Fabriano Artistico 140lb, into 2x6 cm pieces using a cutter and a ruler. I chose the form of small tags to make the best use of the leftovers :p

2. I made clean, 2.5 mm-sized holes with a punch plier (usually for leather belt) on the deckle-edged side of the paper.

3. I applied the paint on the other edge of the paper (to the very edge!) and write the colours' name soon, for fear of being buried in a pile of unnamed colour tags.

4. I arranged the colours by tone and fastened them with the split pin/brassed paper fastener. Since a cover would be a nice touch, I painted the cover with many colours to represent the content of the chart.

I have never made a colour chart before. Instead, I used to mixing and testing colours on an unused paper when I painted and throwing it after the painting was done. I also couldn't really use the common, tile-system colour chart because I couldn't make a side-by-side comparison between each of the colours and the object I painted. To me, the physical juxtaposition was important in finding the right colour. Yet, the tile-system colour charts did not help much in singling out the right colour. Then, I remembered the Pantone's colours chart and I thought that a radial watercolour chart was what I wanted all along.

Now, I really enjoy my radial watercolour chart! I can compare the colours side by side just by rotating them or put it side by side to the object of painting. I can add new colours or rearrange the stack easily because the split pin can unlock and lock without a sweat. I can also write additional note on the rear side. I can release the picked colour from the stack if I needed to. Well, am I easy to be satisfied or what? :p

*I made the blue, purple, yellow, and green colour chart as well and I will enjoy making the earth colour chart as well as any other colour in the future.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

[Commission] Vinos del Paseante - CODORNÍU S.A.

Finally the wine set with my illustrations on them were launched this month. I will write about the process on other posts. To see the complete illustrations, please visit my Behance. Thank you, Miquel Capo and Xavier Bas for having me in this exicting project!

[Tips] Painting Furs Quickly with Comber Brushes

I worked on some illustrations for Codorníu S.A. under the direction of Miquel Capo of Xavier Bas Disseny, generally in 2 steps. First, I blocked all the designated spaces with wet washes. And, later, I built up the figure with many layers of fur and feathers, using a very dry brush strokes.

I painted them mostly in dry brush in order to imitate the paintings style of Mr Alexander Marshal, an English entomologist, gardener, and botanical artist from XVII century.

I was not used to work with dry brush. I did it by trial and error. When I worked on "El Pispa," the goldfinch bird illustration, I got quite frustrated with how long it took to build up the body of the bird with a small round brush. I even wore out my two favourite brushes. Fortunately, I bought 2 comber brushes from Rosemary afterward, which I used to work on the next illustration, "La Pelea." The brush has unique shape that can create many tiny strokes at once. It made the work of painting the furs much quicker and easier.

Some insight I gained in the process:
1. Adjust the dryness on a different paper to create separated fur at once.
2. Combine the round and comber brushes for natural variability. I used a comber brush for wide area and a round brush to put down some details or correct the stray lines made by the comber brush.
3. Follow the fur direction and control the pressure. I lifted the brush up at the end of the stroke to make pointy furs/hairlines.
4. Since I didn't use white paint, I started from light and moved to dark colour. The highlights were effected by making fewer strokes on the area while adding more layers on the shadows.

I know the illustrations was not a perfect sample of realistic painting but I believe these comber brushes can greatly help to make it happen.

And here is the scanned illustration of La Pelea for Codorníu S.A. Enjoy!