I loved the voilet shades on a hummingbird and planned to use them on the birds here though I had not added that particular bird here. I mixed some colors with the blues and reds that I had, namely ultramarine blue, phthalo blue and cobalt blue ton with magenta and ruby red. Phthalo blue is little towards the green side and it didn’t make a particularly good violet; I chose ultramarine blue and magenta. The last two squares on the top row are Schminke’s gold and silver. The third last one is violet mixed with silver, its not too sparkling…. like I would need for the hummingbirds. The colors in the chart below look slightly different on screen.
I masked the birds and a bud or two of the fuschias and left it to air dry thoroughly.
The background wet into wet wash is the most exciting and scariest part of the whole painting for me. I mixed puddles of
indian yellow (this is for the top of the huge tree on the other side of the bank which catches the sunlight),
a mix of pthalo blue and indian yellow for the bottom of the tree,
magenta mixed with ultramarine blue (I plan to change the colors of the flowers in the reference photos to go with this theme),
burnt sienna mixed with a tiny bit of violet (UB + magenta) for the bank ,
pthalo green for the water.
After giving a strong warning to my son not to disturb me for 15 mins, I spray the whole paper with clean water, brush it in evenly with a large flat brush and as this is the last paper on this block, I stick the paper to the cardboard with gummed tape. The paper had already started to dry and I wet it again with the flat brush, also using a small round one to go around the edges of the flowers neatly. I do this for 5 to 6 times as the paper keeps drying out in places. When I have the sheet evenly wet, (the flowers are dry) I begin at the top of the sheet dropping in the blue with the flat brush. My son chooses this moment (I am sure, on purpose) to come and demand me to fix his toy. Yikes!! I freak out and holding him with one hand at arms length, manage to drop in the rest of the colors. After giving him some hard stares (which he shakes off quite easily, he just loves to see me irritated, the little rascal) and fixing his toy, I check the state of my painting. No streaks, thank god. I would have liked it if the phthalo green at the bottom was stronger. This would have been a great time, to start adding slightly deeper values which would blend softly as the paper is slowly drying; for the background trees etc. No chance of that on this paper. But I am satisfied with this. I leave it to dry.
For the tree on the other bank, I use the sponge technique to add some texture with slightly stronger values. This is done on dry paper.
For this top bunch of leaves, I mix greens from the yellow and pthalo blue adding a bit of the violet. I also have a puddle of sap green of medium consistency for the small number of leaves catching the light. Its amazing that you can see the atmospheric perspective even in this single tree. The branches towards the top left are facing away from the viewer and hence the leaves on them are more blue-gray than the the leaves at the right bottom which are nearer to the viewer. So I added some more blue and red to my mixes.
I work on the branches and leaves simultaneously, so that I know where to place groups of leaves. I also alternate between the full image and the zoomed in image windows on the screen, so that I can see the detail as well as get a sense of proportion of the whole. For the branches, I wet portions, drop in burnt sienna and add the violet on the undersides just as it loses its sheen. This is just the first layer, I have to darken them a bit more.
I wet the area of the background tree and add layers of pale mixes of ultramarine blue mixed with aeurolin yellow. Also sponge in the tree next to this one.
The leaves towards the bottom are sap green and sap green mixed with ruby red for the darker values. There are a lot of tiny branches weaving in and around the leaves. Added some of them. The leaves on the right are in deep shadow and I used a lot of violet there mixed with a bit of yellow to grey it down. Lot of repetitive work here, I painted this listening to the songs of the Hindi version of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. A.R Rehman always manages to make some thing new and different.