More on Ricinus Communis, the Fairy of the Castor Bean Plant

I will have to put this painting aside for a week, and so this is just a quick post to show you as far as I got yesterday…

Here was the painting straight after its hosing down in the shower:

Painting after washing with water
Painting after washing with water

At this point, a painting always looks a bit harsh, so I have tended to go over part of it with several colour washes with very translucent paints (some of the watercolours can be better than gouache for this, but the opacity of any paint varies from pigment to pigment and some of the gouache paints also work).

The way I usually do this is to brush over the entire surface of the painting with water, then add a bit of watery colour in one or more places, let it spread as much as I want it to, and dry it rapidly with a hair dryer. After quite a lot of time I build up colour where I want it – often around the edges as this process tends to deaden the detail, depending on what colour I am using. If I am quick, I can brush colour over a large area and mop up the colour off patches where I don’t want it, like on a central figure, while drying with a hair dryer at the same time. This is not precise but usually that is a nice thing since my paintings suffer sometimes from too many hard edges.

And here it is now:

Painting after numerous colour washes
Painting after numerous colour washes

The colour washes tend to pull it all together, though I have lost even more of my detail now! Next I shall probably be adding more of that thin blue I used for the under painting, before I take off more paint again… but that will have to wait a week.


  1. I sort of liked the harder edge of the first image

    1. That’s fair enough! 😀 but you haven’t seen how it finishes up in the end – neither have I, of course – maybe it will all be for the best in the end – there is quite a lot more to do.

      1. LOL! well then we’ll all have to wait and be patient until then

      2. btw- are you familiar with the works of the Victorian Richard Dadd?

        1. yes, a bit… people think that I have a lot of detail in my paintings, but they’re nothing compared to his. Only… I think I’d not complete even one a year if I did them to that detail, and then I might go mad 😉

  2. […] Apologies that I didn’t continue with the step-by-step photos, but there was little dramatic change after the last photo, and the delay was more whilst I went on holiday than that there was another full week’s painting. Here are the previous posts that show this painting as it develops: 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 painting… […]

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