Some close ups of the painting





Some changes on the ‘Grapes and Robin’

Grapes and Robin


           After posting, I noticed on the screen (as I usually do, after I do the Final Painting post!), some values that needed correction. The grape vine was not clearly distinguishable, as the light values of the leaves were in front of the light values of the horizontal slat of the fence. I darkened the area around this region and lightened the value of the vertical slat above the robin. Also painted a light wash of red madder dark and burnt sienna on the fence in the middle and towards the left of the painting.

Finished Painting – Grapes and Robin


           I’ve finished adding the final details today. Here it is, you can see the larger version of it in my other blog,        

  Grapes and Robin


                I have removed the mask and painted a pale brown over it. Added some background leaves and deepened the shadows. Added fine feathers with translucent orange on the chest of the robin as I was not getting the vivid orange by mixing the yellow and red. Added the grape vine climbling towards the top of the tree in the bg.(above photo)

some more details

Updates on the painting


           For the area behind the leaves, I layed in a diluted wash of pthalo blue, the green of the leaves and indian yellow at the center on dry paper. Fill the brush completely with the paint pixture  to avoid  streaks when you are working on dry paper, especially for washes. Dropped in some stronger greens in the wet wash at the base of the fence and towards the right to simulate plant growth.   

background , grapes and robin


              The fence is a mixture of indian yellow, red madder dark and Lukas burnt sienna. The vertical slats were done after the horizontal ones were fully dry. Masked a few thin lines for the string like growth on the top and sides of the trees. After the masking had dried, I wet the areas of the tree trunks and dropped in a mixture of burnt sienna and a bit of pthalo blue, also a bit of red madder dark. I softened the edges with a damp brush so that there are no hard lines showing. Layed in some pale colors for the walls, dry brushing in some places.      

fence and tree etc


            For the leaves on the grape vine, I used sap green, indian yellow and pthalo blue, also a slight bit of the red, wetting the areas first and dropping in the colors. The chest of the robin is a vivid orange color, for the first layer I put in an orange made of indian yellow and red madder dark. The grapes were done individually, dampening the circle and stroking in colors taking care to leave a highlight towards the top. 

first layers for grape vine


                     The next layer is done after the first one had dried, with the same colors, only stronger.

second layers for grape vine and robin

Final details of main palm leaves

        The main leaves are done; here’s how the painting looks at this stage. I will add the rest of the leaves as I paint the background, I don’t want the painting to look complicated by adding too many of the leaves as these foreground leaves already have a lot of detail.

the painting so far ...


              Some close up shots:

top right

 top center


 center left

 bottom left

Second layers for plam leaves

       These are the second layers for the leaves. Nothing much to write about, the photos show how I have proceeded.

front leaf




         This is the first layer for the leaf on the extreme right. Wet each leaflet separately and stroked in the colors just as I did for all the leaves in all layers.

top , extreme right leaf

top, extreme right , second layer


center, left

top center

First layers for palm leaves


          These are the colors that I have  used so far for the palm leaves : Schminke’s phthalo blue, indian yellow, red madder dark, payne’s grey and Lukas burnt sienna. The centres of the leaves are complicated and I have painted them separately from the leaflets by softening the edges and letting the layers dry in between. Here is centre of the main frontal leaf, in which I wet the area first and dropped in Indian Yellow, so that I donot lose the lighter, pure value there. The four leaflets towards the right reflect the sky and are bluish, dropped in phthalo blue after wetting them. 

center of main palm leaf


      Here is the first layer for the entire leaf. The tips are yellowed and some of them burnt. Dropped in the yellow and then burnt sienna at the extreme end.



         I have not painted the leaves in the order shown here but for clarity’s sake, I have put all the first layers in this post. This lower leaf is in shade and I mixed a bit of payne’s grey to the blue to dull it down a bit.

upper left leaf


            The left portion of the leaf is not yet separated into leaflets. I wet the entire area and dropped in the different shades of green mixed from the yellow and blue, as it was drying, I lifted out some highlight lines with a stiff brush and stroked in some directional lines with stronger colors. I let it dry completely and dropped in the violet mixed from red madder dark and the green in the wet centre area. The forward facing leaves have v-shaped highlights at places where they are facing downwards. For the upward leaves, I dampened the area and stroked in payne’s grey mixed with a little blue taking care to leave the whites of the highlights. 

upper left leaf1


            Below is the upper left leaf and there is more of violet here. Used the same technique and colors as for the others.

upper left leaf


top left leaf

New Painting – Grapes and Robin


       This painting, I had started a while back. The inspiration is from this scene, the photos of which I had taken in our back yard, while living in Weil Am Rhein, Germany. Its a small garden with a pond and waterfall next to these palm trees. The red geraniums (Spiritual Happiness) that I grew in pots, flowered abundantly and it was a pleasurable spot to enjoy in the summer.

      I liked the cascade of light in the photo below but the photo below this one is the one I chose for the painting. The diagonal lines below the fence takes us into the scene where as the first photo has a rather flat look. Also the light in the second photo is focussed more on the grape vine which is what I wanted.



        I then made a sketch, calculating a few measurements of the main palm leaves (the painting is roughly 2.5 times the photo) so that I don’t end up with some parts larger than the others.

rough sketch


         Here is the final drawing transfered to watercolor paper, the grape vine was too straight , I changed it into a more pleasing slightly downward curve and added a bunch of grapes and a robin from parts of  photos from the RIL of Thanks to Marita and Pete for the same.

Drawing - grapes and robin