Monday, 31 October 2011

Autumn Glory

The view from my studio window is truly glorious at the moment. There are 2 silver birch trees wearing their autumn foliage, with the silver bark showing through the loose branches. When the sun shines through them, especially in the early morning and it is low in the sky, the colours are mouth-watering.
On Thursday morning, the sun was out around noon, and as I came away from Art Club, the bonnet of my car was up against a tall hedge of muti-coloured shrubs which give us lots of foliage choice throughout the year if we need something of that sort for the still life painting. This week, there were the most beautiful end twigs of what I think is Virginia creeper. I,m not very good on trees and shrubs, but the name is not really important,
What was inspiring, was the way the sun shone on these leaves which were buttery cream in place and a beautiful pinky orange or magenta in others, often on the same leaf. I could not resist. A discreet clip here and there and the minute I got home I had paper and paint on the go, so afraid that they would wilt and die before I had done my best to capture them in a painting.
Once the drawing was done, I flooded the paper with Naples yellow and a mixture of Naples yellow and Quinachridone Magenta, leaving bits of white and being careful to keep both colours separate in places to maintain the freshness of the colours. I then took a rubber to the drawing to remove any pencil lines which were in the unpainted ares to give me some lost edges. Finally, I had a great time painting the leaves, strengthening the colours where necessary, darkening the background behind the leaves, and finally adding more colour to the top left and bottom right, to leave a highlighted passage diagonally across the middle! Over the years we have painted so many autumn subjects, but there is always old favourites to try again, and new exciting ideas to develop. I hope you enjoy looking at the painting. I am pleased enough to mount and frame it.

                                                 Watercolour on Centenaire 'not' paper
                                                             300 gm  30cm x 40cm

In addition to the Naples Yellow and Quinachridone Magenta, I also included Quinachridone Rust, Brown Madder, Nickel Quinachridone, Cadmium Orange, and Indigo in the background.


  1. Lovely colours AND much looser!

  2. Thank you Peter. Yes it is looser, but not sure if I can always manage it. I have a part drawn foxglove picture, so will try the same technique and see if it works. The leaves were easier because the shape is so much more 2 dimensional. Will see how we get on