Painting Kuching in Watercolour

Red Canna

Posted on: 16/12/2009

Phew! this was tough. I did 3 attempts before I was happy with this one. The difficulty – capturing that bright velvety red. The deep purple stems were very easy to paint in comparison, and I finally found a use for my tube of Holbein’s Shell Pink – perfect for that white powder on the stem (I know there’s a botanical term for this powder but I can’t remember it!).

I wonder why bright reds are such difficult shades to reproduce. Not only is it difficult on paper but also to manipulate digitally on my scanner and screen. Or could it be my eyesight/brain, that I am uniquely able to detect such subtle differences that most other people are oblivious to. Capturing this red in watercolour involves first a layer of alizarin crimson for the shadows, then Gamboge, followed by successive thicker washes of Cherry Red. All are transparent pigments chosen for their luminosity. I waited for the paint to thoroughly dry, before lightly washing Vermilion over all the petals. This is a opaque granular pigment, which gave the petals a velvety look. Vermilion is poisonous stuff, big label there on the tube!
12 x 9 inches
Holbein watercolours on Fabriana Artistico cold pressed bright white 140 lbs paper
Holbein watercolours: Gamboge Nova, Cherry Red, Perm. Alizarin, Vermilion, Ultramarine Deep, Shell Pink


3 Responses to "Red Canna"

this is fantastic!!!!!!
Miriam Lo

tough subject when we were at schools drawing and painting cannas with crayons…this wonderful

like it very much

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A rank amateur self-taught watercolour artist

December 2009
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