Black and redcurrant “In red and black”
Dear Friends. You have been waiting for this step-by-step demonstration for a while so here it is. As you can see, you don’t have to go far to find inspiration. The garden is the best place for it. Nature fills us with such an amount of fruit and berries that in summer, you just have to bend to pick them up. I really enjoyed, as usual, looking for the perfect shade to use on the berries, the blackcurrant in particular which is anything but black…
- 140lb cold pressed Arches watercolour paper 10x14in
- Brushes : Raphael series 8040 and 8402 #6, Raphael mop series 804 #4, flat synthetic
- Nib holder
- Clutch pencil with HB lead
- Crepe rubber
- Kitchen paper
- Masking fluid
- 2 water jars
Cadmium Lemon Yellow
Cobalt Violet Light Hue
Cobalt Violet Light Hue
Step 1: Drawing and masking fluid
Step 2: Background
First, I turn my sheet upside down to wet the background and easily get around details.
Step 3: I turn the paper the right way up and brush cadmium lemon yellow, aureolin and permanent orange on the damp background.
Step 4: While the paper is still damp, I drop in little touches of Winsor blue, a mixture of Winsor blue and Winsor red, and indigo. I fill the gaps between the leaves with the same shades.
Step 5: Looking for the right hue of the blackcurrant.
Step 6: Blackcurrants
To create the highlight, we have the choice between 3 methods:
- Masking fluid: easy but can give a stiff result
- Lifting-off: softer but it can be difficult on a small surface to lift the white out of a very dark colour
- My method: using the HB pencil, I lightly indicate the highlight with a wider outline and mark the center with a little dot that will be erased when the watercolour is dry. Sometimes a simple dot is enough to spot the highlight. I dampen the paper with clean water all around the highlight and brush my colours.
I wet the area.
I drop the Winsor blue.
I add the permanent rose.
I mix a blue from indigo, Payne’s grey and a little cobalt violet. You can play with the proportions of grey and violet, or mix grey with sepia for a darker tone. I add a touch of translucent orange at the bottom of the berry for the stamen.
Remember to leave a white outline around the berries.
Step 7: Leaves
I mix 2 greens: one from green gold with phtalo green, the second from green gold with sap green. I apply them over the leaves, varying the tones and adding a bit of transparent orange to the mixture.
Step 11 : I finish building up the blackcurrants with the same wash as before and then the leaves with sap green mixed with indigo for the shadowed areas. For the plate and the cast shadows from the berries onto it, I use a mixture of indigo, Payne’s grey and cobalt violet.