Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Royal Palm and new mini-palette

Royal palm, originally uploaded by Elizabeth Smith.

Florida is home to many types of palm trees, but none quite so impressive as the Royal palm. The trunk seems solid as a concrete pole, and the long, majestic fronds have a thick and sturdy midrib surrounded by fluttering green blades. It was a very breezy day, so it was a challenge to squint upwards into the sunny sky and try to draw the constantly changing crown.

I drew the palm on site and added the watercolor washes afterwards, trying out a new mini-palette of high value primary colors. I was inspired to create a smaller watercolor set by  Laure Ferlita's post on stealth sketch kits on her blog, Painted Thoughts. Thank you, Laure,  for a creative way to keep the art supplies minimal!

I used an eye shadow container (cleaned thoroughly and degreased  with rubbing alcohol), and one thing I especially like is the top lid with the clear plastic bubbles – they make great mixing spots. I also like the compact size: 1 ½ by 4 inches; I can take it just about anywhere.  I’m still waiting to see just how watertight it is…until then it’s going to stay in a zippered plastic bag.  It worked quite well with my Niji waterbrushes, the portable brush that carries water right in the handle.

You can see the swatch of Daniel Smith colors I chose for the primary set in the lower left corner of the top photo:
Red = Quinacridone Pink
Yellow = Quinacridone Gold
Blue = Prussian Blue

I read about this combination of colors somewhere and it sounded intriguing. I’ve used a similar triad in the past: Hansa Yellow, Quinacridone Pink, and Manganese Blue, but I had trouble making deep darks. This new set of primaries make some great dark colors!

You can click on the top  image above to view larger on my Flickr photostream.