So after the blue under-painting: https://nancyfarmer.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/start-of-a-painting-ricinus-communis-the-fairy-of-the-castor-oil-plant/ I can now begin adding colour to this 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!
And then I take the painting upstairs and give it a hosing down in the shower:
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!