Day 20 – 30 Day Botanical Leaf Challenge

by Mindy on October 20, 2011

in Uncategorized

Impressed Line- Impressive!



Crotons- (Codiaeum variegatum), Family: Euphorbiaceae have colorful, glossy foliage and a wide variation of leaf types.  It is one of the most popular plants in Florida. It is a native of the tropics from Java to Australia and the South Sea Islands, and because of the Crotons' susceptibility to cold injury, is restricted to the southern and warmer parts of central Florida. Cold injury normally shows as leaf dropping soon after periods of cold weather. Well yesterday it was 85 degrees and last night it went down to 48 degrees and tonight it may go into the 30's!!!!! This is not good for the crotons! Fortunately during the day it reached 75 so things thawed out quickly!

Every single one of these leaves is different. There are no two alike. The only thing that makes them the same is the shape of the leaf. This variety of croton is a broad-leaf croton. The colors are very bold and brilliant. It is hard to believe that that they are real. They look and feel like plastic. I was in a hurry today and I did this all in one fell swoop. I wet the paper and started with my wet on wet watercolor technique. One of the things I did while all the pigment was floating around was to use the back of my paint brush to impress the veins. I used a brush that had a wooden handle that had a small smooth tip on the end. You can use any kind of blunt point, a tapestry needle works well also. I had my pencil lines visible for the veins and used them as a guide. When the paper is wet (300 lb is the best for this technique) I pushed hard into the paper and the pigment ran into the gully I produced. This makes the lines darker than the rest of the painting because there is saturated pigment. I have done this before when doing fine lines on irises. One of the draw backs in using this technique is that you have to get it right the first time. If you impress a line and it is not where you want it to be it is almost impossible to get rid of the indentation. I recommend that you practice this first on a piece of scrap watercolor paper first.

Happy Painting!


The croton leaf is available in my Etsy Shop: BugsBeastsBotanicals


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kim October 21, 2011 at 8:54 am

I LOVE your 30-Day leaf challange!  The diferent techniques are really interesting. 
My question after reading about your love of the 'wet on wet' technique is if you prep your paper in any way?  I use Fabriano 300 hot press, and when I tried using wet on wet, the other day, I really got a soggy area that has buckled and doesn't want to straighten out.  Is there something special you do?
Love your blog and your work!
Kim Thomas

Mindy October 21, 2011 at 9:26 am

HI Kim,
I am glad to hear that you are enjoying my blog and my 30 day leaf challenge. I am surprised that you got a soggy area that buckled. I use the same paper and I put tons of water on it. It has never buckled on me so I am not sure what is happening with you. I use 300lb because the 140 buckles and the 300 doesn’t. Are you sure it is 300lb? Sometimes the label is in grams and perhaps you are working on a lighter paper? It should feel like thick cardboard and not floppy. I really don’t do anything to prepare my paper. Again this is why I use the 300lb. I just load on the water and paint and let it rip. I start by placing the water in the center in a puddle and then distribute the water outward to the perimeters of the object. I really work the water into the paper. There should be a shimmer on the surface. If it puddles on the edges and you can see pigment running to the edge you have used too much water. I hope this helps! Let me know how it works out.
Happy painting,

Pamela October 29, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Mindy and Kim,  It is likely that Kim is using 140 lb paper (which is 300 gsm) instead of 300 lb paper (which is 638 gsm).  Best wishes, Pamela

Mindy October 29, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Pamela- I think you are right about the paper. I knew that there was some kind of weight difference but I wasn’t sure what is was. Thanks for clearing that up for me.
Happy Painting, Mindy

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