Adding colour: Ricinus Communis Fairy continued…

So after the blue under-painting: I can now begin adding colour to this painting.

Adding colour to the Ricin Fairy painting
Adding colour to the Ricin Fairy painting

The colour is added on in thick gouache paint, the idea being ultimately to stain the paper, so the particular pigments are carefully chosen. All the same, I suspect something of a mistake in the colour of the lower leaves. The trouble is I don’t want them too dark, and with this technique that means adding white at this stage, and the dark green has gone kind of blue (though not, I think, quite as blue as in the photo). I will probably get away with it in the end, but the colour was hard to judge here: the leaves are rather shiny, so the lower ones reflect the lightness of the sky in the photos that I took, whereas my paintings don’t really take much account of lighting and reflection in the end, so I am seduced by the colour I see in the photo… on top of that, the real colour of the leaves is a kind of dark red over dark green, which is a little hard to pin down in any case. Going with the pale blue anyway as I am stuck with it for the moment…

This is the stage where it looks like I don’t know what I’m doing!

Ricin Fairy: filling in the colour.
Ricin Fairy: filling in the colour.

And then I take the painting upstairs and give it a hosing down in the shower:

Painting after 'washing'
Painting after ‘washing’

This is what I meant by staining the paper – I have washed most of the paint off again… and now my under-painting shows through again.

As is always the way, some of the meticulous effort I’ve put into the first painting and drawing stages will be lost and the effort has been for nothing. Almost. If there weren’t shades and half-seen details it would be a less interesting painting, but all the same, I look at the painting at this stage and I know there was detail there before!


  1. The sacrifices one makes for art!

    1. You know, though, no matter how many times I see you do this, and explain it, I am still amazed by what you create. It doesn’t seem possible. 🙂

      1. Art is worth sacrifice :-)… if it was easy we probably wouldn’t be interested! About the process – i did actually get my partner to record the ‘washing’ process… but the file is so big i wasn’t able to upload it, and, um, it came out turned at 90 degrees… must look into getting this film clip thing right when I have a spare moment sometime!

  2. […] Sketch and photos, and a little of the story of this plant… Start of the painting… Adding colour to the painting… And the final stage before the finished […]

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