It was a bit rainy yesterday, so I was thrilled to see the sunlight on the porch this morning. In addition to visiting my pink flower, I took a look at Arthur, my pet avocado sapling. Those of you who follow my blog probably know the saga of Arthur. It was touch and go for a while, but I think he’s going to make it.
I took the following photograph of Arthur’s new growth:
What struck me (in addition to the fact that Arthur is alive), was the way the light struck the dominant leaf. The photograph doesn’t do it justice, but in real life, it appears as if one half is the negative of the other. In the right half, the areas between the side veins is dark; the other half is light. The veins in the right half are lighter than the background; those on the left half are dark.
After sketching the tufts of leaves at the top (this time in pencil – my charcoal sketch from a few days ago didn’t reveal that the top of the plant was actually new growth), I applied latex resist along the lines of the veins. After it was dry, I washed two of the leaves with lemon yellow (my favorite).
I lost track of which green pigments I used for which areas, but I used the palette with Chrome green, Olive green, and Phthalo yellow green. I noticed a hint of red on the dark side of the leaf, so I used Burnt Sienna.
I wasn’t sure this would work, but it seemed to be the right shade. I had a little trouble with the side leaves, at this stage.
The latex rubber mask is still in place. In this stage, I worked on the side leaves. It was a problem getting the appropriate contrast between the bottom-most leaf and the stem to the leaf above it.
I wanted to see if I could glaze the main leaf. Lemon yellow didn’t seem to be a problem on the left half, since it was illuminated by direct sunlight in the photograph. However, I had to find a transparent green that would serve as a glaze for the left side. It would have to tone down the red coloration left by the Burnt Sienna. I looked it up and found that Sap green is transparent. Sap green – Arthur is a sapLING. Perfect.
Finally, I removed the latex and applied the shadows to the left hand side. I used Shadow Green by Holbein for this. On the right side, I used Phthalo yellow green.
I’m reasonably happy with this. I should fix the dark smudge on the leftmost leaf.