Onion; watermedia 10×8″

“Onion head”: watermedia and pen on HP paper, 10×8″

I finished this a couple of weeks ago, having started it in early June and then worked on it in short spells during the hot weather.

It developed from a small biro drawing and a photo of the onion-head. These things look relatively simple but I wanted to do more with the details. In the end there was far more than I’d anticipated, so I stopped when boredom set in.

How to do it and what to use offered several routes. One could be pencil but I wanted a strong outline so chose technical pen instead. I also wanted some colour and couldn’t make my mind up about permanent ink, so eventually chose Hydrus watercolours. Having completed the drawing on Fabriano HP paper and laid in a coloured background, using a mix of ultramarine and gamboge Hydrus colours, I realised that the little buds would need a very pale green to almost white colouring. I tried white gouache as a mix with the watercolour but couldn’t get a strong enough result….so it was a return to the tube of white acrylic paint.

A fine chinese brush was used to add stripes to the buds. The brown onion sheath was made with an initial layer of ochre, then painted over with a mixed orange (aliz crimson + gamboge) and a dab of sepia (I don’t have an orange Hydrus bottle!).

Stippling the backdrop was an experiment; a fine pointed brush with deep blue and blue-green hydrus watercolour. I wanted it to look more like an illustration than a painting; whether it does or not, I’m uncertain. But I do know it took ages, and this is only a small 10×8 inch sheet. I could have used a technical pen to do the dots, but preferred the watercolour, just in case I changed my mind and wanted to wash it all out.

Overall the work didn’t quite come out as I’d first imagined but it showed me how various materials could easily combine into making an image…technical pen, watercolour, and acrylic. What was interesting overall was the effect that the dots had on the initial green background-wash; the varying density of dots modulated the underlying colour, creating unexpected shading.

I would like to explore this wash-and-dots method further; but at the moment my concentration is rather poor. I don’t do well in hot summers; and some recent long-distance walks have left me feeling quite clapped out. I’m currently working on a little pastel, from scenery derived from that walking; and also on some pastel ideas that will encompass subjects I’ve never tried before.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial