I always like to have a good bunch of Chinese Lanterns in the studio as they are very painterly and they dry nicely. They do, however, eventually fall apart and so I was really pleased to acquire another couple of sprigs from my sisters garden on my last visit.
After all the hurley-burley of Christmas, it is nice to get back in the studio and put some paint on paper. Something simple as there are still unresolved family matters to deal with, my concentration not as it should be.
I worked in exactly the same manner as usual, familiar to lots of you. The drawing came first, as I have been having a bit of a problem with busy compositions and not always getting the levels of each element correct. The photo makes the lines look a bit heavy but the drawing was done with light HB pencil marks and I think it is the flash which has made it look a bit dense.
Using mainly Translucent Orange and Quinachridone rust for the lanterns and a mixture of Indigo and Nickel Quinachridone or Transparent Orange Iron for the greens, I started by painting in the lanterns and a little of the stems and background.
As I worked I erased the pencil lines as much as possible, although they cannot easily be removed if paint has flowed over them.
When painting in parts of the background I always add a little of the subject colour as well as the greens to give the impression, I hope, of more of the subject matter in the distance.
At this stage, I lightly drew in some foliage, not worrying too much about the shapes of the leaves. This is not intended to be a botanical painting, when all is said and done!
I painted the leaves with the same mixtures of colours, adding a little Apatite Green Genuine, and some Translucent Orange, marking in the veins in the nearest lower leaves with a sharpened twig.
I finished the background, darkening the very centre, but trying still to keep it fresh, and finished with a little Rust and White splatter,
I will prop it up in the studio, and live with it for a couple of days. I would have liked it to have a bit more impact, but I will need to ponder on how I might achieve it.
As usual, Fabriano Artistico Extra White Not 300g paper and mainly Daniel Smith and Graham watercolour paints.