With Billy Showell
This is a beautiful, fragile flower. It has a very deep colour that makes it appear almost velvety in certain light. A climbing plant with woody stems, it is an excellent subject to paint as it flowers profusely and is easy to replace if your specimen expires. I spotted this one tumbling over a wall in France. It lasted a surprising amount of time as a cut flower, so luckily I was able to complete it without further cuttings. I decided upon a simple study of a short section of stem with three flowers all facing in the same direction, as if turned towards the sun. The top of the study shows the mature woody part of the stem; the younger, greener stem is towards the bottom. Take care to put the correct end into water!
Start with a very simple drawing and outline the centre details. Paint these with masking fluid to allow free movement when painting the petals. Make up mix A for the centre of each petal, and C and D for the main part of the petals. D is a watered-down version of C.
Once you are happy with this first wash and it is thoroughly dry, paint in the main centre veins using C. Allow these to dry, then repeat the first process either side with a brighter colour (B) (petal 2).
When the petals are dark enough, allow them to dry then gradually paint on the detail with the point of a very fine no. 4 brush. You will need to be very light with the application of the detail so as not to dislodge the dark colour of the petal (petal 3). Allow to dry.
Using plenty of water, glaze a leaf then drop on the leaf green (E) to retain light. Lift out some of the colour to reveal F (leaf 1). Repeat this process on the other leaves.
Add veining using E. Keep the detailing simple as the leaves are not complicated and much of their detail is lost in shadow or strong light. The lighter veins are created by lifting out some of the colour and then, once dry, glazing around them carefully with a darker mix. Do make sure you study the pattern of the veins (leaf 2).
The woody stem colour (G) is a combination of colours E and A. Run a small amount of water down the stem, then run in the colour. Sweep out a highlight before it dries. Use E for the greener parts of the stems.
Strengthen the shadows using further washes of the purple mixes.
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