I have travelled Sri Lanka for 15 days, and though I had little time to actually paint, I collected some flowers/leafs. I dried all in a small travel herbarium I made; Negombo, Kalle, Tangalle, Kandy, Deniyaya, Hortan Plains. I picked up some leaves of the 2500 year old Bodhi tree, which is a sapling of the original Budha tree from India. So….browns for the leaves, the tiny flowers I found under a coconut tree and pods; burned umber, Van Dyck brown earth, sepia, Terra Puzzolli, walnut. Magenta/ madder red dark/dark red and permanent violet/China iridon violet for the flat dried flowers.
Winter in our parts can look barren, but color and interesting things are around. On my daily walks I pick all kinds of things; lying/growing on the pavement or next to it. The brown things may seem boring, but there are more colors in it than one would think: Terre Pozzuoli, gold brown, the Sienna in all varities, Umber, Van Dyck earth, yellow ochre, Naples yellow, Indian yellow and even some orange. Tomorrow I’ll be going to Sri Lanka and looking forward to all the greens, the magnificent flowers. I may not have the time to paint, but one never knows…
It is autumn now and a bit nippy. At the side of the path where I often walk there are these teasels, grote kaardebol or dipsacus fullonum. Long ago they were used in textile processing as a natural comb. They look very attractive, I find. It took me a while to get’ their system’, that is the natural order of this plant. I used a variety of browns: siennas, umbers, walnut brown, sepia, some translucent brown and Vandijcke brown earth. I use the latter a lot these days, as it is a strong, earthy brown.
It is getting on to winter, but there still are roses in my garden, some hanging on in sheer desperation, or so it seems. The climbers on my rose arch have few flowers now, as it almost freezes at night. The rose-bushes have plenty of rose hips and are letting go of their leaves. I could make jam out of them, but not this year. I am painting on twice the scale, from A5 on to A4 (210mmx297mm). There is always a compromise when painting leaves. In any case, starting with the light colour is sensible and leaving out white for the highlights. In stead of walnut brown, I use the Van Dycke brown earth, which has more opacity.
Last month I visited the University Botanical Garden and found lots of shells(!, in the gravel), herbs and dried pods of flowers. I collected a few and have enough work to last me some time, if I want to paint all of them. I am thinking of drawing just one enlarged flower of petal instead of a branch of bunch of flowers. Anyway, from the botanical garden is the leek (kraallook) and some unknown pods. I started to use earth pigment for these and I like it. The leek got a touch of gold brown, burned sienna and mauve. The dried rose is from a bouquet and I used red and magenta for it. And the aster novi-belgii(herfstaster); lots of tiny flowers and petals. Instead of the usual olive green, I used chroom dark green and some permanent green. Naples yellow, mangan violet and purple magenta for the petals.
Snowberry or sneeuwbes is like a weed. Our municipality plants it along public roads. One cycles or walks past without noticing the beauty of this shrub. White berries and tiny rose-red flowers. I used my usual olive greens and cadmium yellow for the leaves, an earth color for the branches and magenta in different shades for the flowers. The berries got a lick of gray and green around.
My yearly fortnight cycling in the beautiful forests in East Germany. It is very beautiful, with many wild plants, mushroom etc. etc. I picked some chanterelles (Pfifferlinge) under the oak trees but I daren’t eat them as I am not an experienced mushroompicker. The oak leaves have beautiful colours and holes that look like lace; only the veins are left in some part. I used earth pigment for the base, as well as orange, Prussian blue, neutral, green, walnutbrown, sepia and sienna natur. The chanterelles got Indian yellow, translucent orange, translucent yellow and a touch of walnut brown.