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Tick Tock

I can almost hear the ticking of the looming deadline. 
Yes, the Society of Botanical Artists submission day is fast approaching (17thMarch), and my paintings have to be finished this week and ready for scanning and framing. 
It’s probably not the best time to change the composition of a piece, but when I thought back to what initially attracted me to the Calamondin plant, it was the abundance of little oranges peeking out through the foliage. So this week I decided to throw caution to the wind and add some more fruit.
Hmmm… what would a little extra fruit look like? Perhaps this small orange will fit?
Thank God for tracing paper! It really is the easiest way to ascertain whether something is going to work or not. You can try out new ideas without too much effort, just by using coloured pencils on tracing paper.
First one little fruit
Then another
And why not two more?
Anyway, the painting is finally finished!!! I am pleased that I had decided to add more fruit as I felt that it added depth and interest to the composition. Besides I needed a break from all those green leaves!

× Citrofortunella microcarpa,  Calamondin or Chinese Orange
watercolour on vellum 30x23cm 2014

Of all the paintings that I have done, I think this one was one that I learned the most on. Dianne has been a brilliant mentor and great support. If you are interested in painting on vellum, I’d really recommend doing a course because there is definitely a knack to it. Anyway, here’s what I’ve learned-
  • ·        Dark shiny leaves are difficult to do on vellum, but not impossible. I’m just going to try to avoid them in future.
  • ·        Greens need a lot of pink (thank you Jess for reminding me of that)
  • ·        Sometimes it’s better to remove the paint and start again, than trying to fix something that is just not going to work
  • ·        Pumice powder, a damp paintbrush or a scalpel will all remove paint, but a damp cotton bud is like a magic wand (I have to give credit to Denise Walser-Kolar for that brilliant tip, it made such a difference)
  • ·        Beware the scalpel! That sounds a bit obvious but I got a bit carried away at one stage and ended up with a big scratch on the surface of my vellum. It’s a bit addictive
  • ·        Be brave. Don’t be afraid to make changes if you feel it is necessary
  • ·        Always have a good supply of tracing paper
  • ·        Remind yourself of what first attracted you to the plant and try to capture that in your painting
  • ·        Dry brushwork is tough on paintbrushes. My miniature sable brushes are completely worn out now after completing these two vellum pieces

My no2 and no3 are stumps beside my no4. Time for new brushes!
There’s no rest for the wicked though. The Nature Sketchbook Exchange project continues, and with that deadline also approaching, I need to clean off my palette and get started. Exciting times lie ahead.
The best way to finish a painting is to start a new one” 
Sylvio Gagnon

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