Friday, 13 September 2013

Day 11 of the 30 Day Challenge, Blackberries

I think it's fair to say that where I live isn't the most picturesque or inspiring of of places. Stoke on Trent or the 'Potteries' is a strange place with no heart to the City, it sprawls across 5 run down towns, littered with remnants of its former industrial heritage and demolition sites. Unfortunately it's yet another City undergoing haphazard 'regeneration', dictated by an ill-informed Council.
But even in a place like this it's surprising what you can sometimes find on the doorstep. I live on the outskirts of one of the 5 towns, Longton. It's just a few miles from where I was born, and I have to say that it's the most depressing of places and not really somewhere that you would venture out for a stroll.... but recently I've noticed ( while sitting in the usual traffic jams) that if you look around there are all sorts of bits and pieces of green space in this town, like stepping-stones for wildlife.  Yesterday I ventured along a path that I'd spotted while stuck at yet another set of temporary traffic lights! it runs parallel with the main A50 road and  towards the incinerator and the Britannia football stadium....sounds lovely doesn't it!  But I found some great stuff there and the Council obviously did a good job with the planting in years gone by, with fruit trees, bushes and berries a plenty!
So I now have a haul of items sufficient to keep me going for at least another 10 days of the challenge! And the lesson here is.....stop putting off painting by using the excuse that there's nothing to's not true! there's always something to paint, you just haven't looked!
Here's my first effort from yesterdays find. The good old blackberry. 

Finished piece, watercolour and graphite
 It started as a simple single fruit study ( below ) but felt like I hadn't done enough, so started adding more berries and some leaves in graphite. I tend to think this isn't a good approach and usually like to have a clear idea of the outcome at the outset but I'm bending my own rules for this Challenge because it's good to bend your own rules.  Think I prefer it as it was in the simpler form, although  the curl of tissue where it was pulled from the stem is quite nice..... and inflicted considerable pain!
Single study first.
Close up, a bit blurred because this is much larger than actual size but I added it so you can see the colours in more detail.

Colours: Red berry: Transparent  Yellow and small amount of Cobalt Blue Deep for the green
Quinacridone Red wash graded into the greener berries,  and then as a wash the the remaining berries, remembering to leave all highlights clear. towards the left of the front berry I added Permanent Alizarin Crimson, where the berries are a cooler colour. I applied two washes and then used dry brush to model the form adding a small amount of Indanth Blue to the red for the shade red. I used cobalt deep and cobalt violet on the reflected light areas.
Blackberry: Indanth, blue and Permanet Alizarin Crimson with a tiny amount of cad yellow, I used different washes of the Indanth and Alizarin on top of the first wash tho show the blue or red bias in the berries. I used the same Cobalt Blue Deep and Cobalt Violet for the light as in the red berries.
Stalk and dried parts: French Ultra and trans yellow for the green. I added raw umber for the browns and hairs with some Permanent Rose and Indanth Blue added to make the darker brown. I used sepia for the darkest touches on the unpollinated dead flower anthers and filaments.

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