Baby Kiwi Leaf

Joy and I visited her cousin the other day. They have wonderful vegetation: red trumpet flowers that attract hummingbirds, huge ferns, some of which are coiled up ready to unfurl at some later time, and this tremendous vine.  The vine must weigh a ton because the horizontal lumber on which it rests, creating an underpass for the car along the driveway leading to the garage, is quite saggy.

While I was looking up, I noticed the underside of some very robust, pumpkin-shaped leaves. The veins looked like those in my hand after the phlebotomist stretches the tourniquet around my arm.  I noticed a perfectly-formed very tiny leaf at the end of a tendril of vine. I could hardly reach it, but I snagged it an brought it down for closer inspection.

On the face of the leaf was the silhouette of a tree! Or maybe it was the shape of the vine itself. Also, this leaf had other leaves jutting from its periphery. Hard to believe, I know, but here is the photo.

Photograph - Baby Kiwi Leaf

Baby Kiwi Leaf
Digital Photograph

To give you an idea of the scale, and the difference between this pediatric leaf and a mature one, here is an expanded view:

Digital Photograph - Baby Kiwi Leaf Next to Mommy Leaf

Baby Kiwi Leaf Next to Mommy Leaf
Digital Photograph

Today’s watercolor experiment (work in progress): 

I sketched the baby leaf, the two budding leaves and the mature leaf with pencil. I wanted a contrasting background and decided on a reddish blue (quinacridone purple), which I applied to a carefully-wetted background, which I tried to keep outside the pencil lines. Now that I look at it, I’m thinking of glazing it to change the color. The problem will be to avoid overpainting the leaves.

Watercolor Sketch - Baby Kiwi Leaf Stage 1 - Background and Skeleton

Baby Kiwi Leaf Stage 1 – Background and Skeleton

In the next stage I concentrated on the spaces between the veins, in the big leaf, and between the tree branches of the baby leaf.  The photograph shows a translucence in between the branches of the small leaf. I tried to copy that by painting the veins perpendicular to the branches, alternating between lemon yellow and Hooker’s green. To smooth out these areas, I wet the area and applied a watered down wash of Hooker’s green.

For the larger leaf, I use shadow green for the darker areas and Hooker’s green mixed with titanium white for the side of the leaf to the left of the main vein. I tried to show the bulk of the large veins by using an undiluted application of shadow green.

Watercolor Sketch - Baby Kiwi Leaf Stage 2 - More details

Baby Kiwi Leaf Stage 2 – More Details

I plan to complete this study tomorrow by unifying the greens in the large leaf and working on the background that will be harmonious with the foreground.

4 thoughts on “Baby Kiwi Leaf

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