Now to show you some of the process.
I am still a developing watercolour artist, and feel much more comfortable with pencil than a paint brush. I have begun with a practice piece, as I have to work my way through the colours and techniques that I will need for the final painting.
Actually, before that, I want to show you some detailed drawings of parts of C. discolor. These were from the live specimens I had when working in Menindee. I wanted to get as much visual information as possible while I still had the living plant.
I needed to match the colours as accurately as possible while I had the specimen before me. I made various mixes and recorded the paints I had used. You can also see some of my notes and reminders.
Then I began the practice piece. Actually, it was the practice practice piece. As I was painting it I had a crisis of confidence, as I had forgotten how to paint with watercolour washes and do dry brush work. All I could remember were the faults with my technique, especially rushing to the detail too quickly and too much water.
After I had calmed myself down, I went back to basics. That’s the bigger leaf in this painting. I went bigger, slower and thought about what I was doing with each stroke. That helped me to understand how I needed to approach the work. And helped me realise that I could do this after all!
Thank heavens it was not the final, large work on the good (read expensive) paper! Finally I felt ready to begin the real practice painting.
I still have to finish this painting. Obviously the stems need to be painted in. The leaves need more work, which involves a lot more dry brush work. And they need highlights added to their edges. However, I am happy I have captured the texture of the leaves. (Remember, part of the identification for C. discolor is that the leaves are tomentose to hispid — rough, with hairs between stiff and soft/matted.) As well, I think I understand how to paint the furriness of the inflorescences. But the proof is in the pudding, as they say! Stay tuned for progress reports.