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Skunk Cabbage

daily sketching ink and watercolor nature sketchbook watercolor Apr 01, 2020

I was a little too late to capture the bright red, early stage of the local skunk cabbage. I did find a few that still had the sci-fi pods from which the green leaves emerge. 

I couldn't get close enough to sketch and paint it on site without sinking into the swamp so I opted to draw it from a photo I snapped.

I started out with a pencil drawing, locating it carefully behind the numbers that were already on the page of my Stillman & Birn, Zeta Series sketchbook that I've designated as a Perpetual Plant Journal.

Honestly, I had no idea how to approach the next step of painting the skunk cabbage. I opted to start with multiple layering of greens .  

When dry, I added washes of dark, neutralized blue-violets and red-violets.  For the greens I used mixes of aureolin, gamboge, Joe's blue and Ultramarine Blue. I began my violet mixes using alizarin crimson and ultramarine blue.  I neutralized several of those mixes with a tiny touch of cadmium red light as well as a bit of the darker green mixture. 

I added a wet in wet wash over the leaves charging the puddle with different pigments, playing the cool greens against the warm violets.  I finished by adding more neutralized dark violets in the pod part of the plant.

Here's the double spread for this week's Perpetual Plant Journal.  the forsythia was painted on location in my backyard. I usually add only one plant each week.  I had already painted the forsythia when the weather was so lovely this past weekend.  I couldn't resist adding the skunk cabbage today.  By tomorrow it might already be two feet tall!


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