Building Up Bold Colors

Note: This is a continuation of the "Exploring Traced Images" post


A continuation of sorts, anyway. I wanted to share my progress on the leaf painting. 

I have been building up colors by using only yellow onion and red onion dye, turmeric, black sumi ink, binder and water. 


In the progress shot above you can see where I'm blocking in more areas of color. The blue trace lines are still visible. I'm mixing the black ink with a bit of red onion dye and binder.

One unfortunate side effect of working with a new medium is not having an intuitive understanding of when a piece is safe to touch or store. 



I have been using Schmincke Ready-To-Use Gouache binder which is primarily comprised of gum arabic which can be quite sticky - I mean, it is basically made from tree sap. I've used gum arabic in the past, but that was mostly for lithography and that's a completely different context.

Anywho, I made the mistake of closing my sketchbook when I thought the paint was completely dry and had a surprise waiting for me the next time I opened it.   You can see in the image above where the tacky bits pulled off paper from the original drawing that I traced for the painting. 



I didn't let this stop me. I continued to build up the intensity / saturation of colors. I started to get away from the suggestion on the bottle of Schmincke Ready-To-Use Gouache binder. The manufacturer recommends a ratio of 2 parts binder and 1 part pigment. You can see what that looks like in the very first image in this post. In this image you can see what it looks like when you scoop out a bit of binder, pigment and water as you go along. The ratio gets closer to 50/50 to 25/75 with the amount of pigment being slightly larger as I mix on the palette. 


Here's where I am as of this morning. I started adding shadow and darker colors and I'm running in to some technical challenges. (1) Thick areas of paint will come off or significantly change if I'm not careful with my water levels. (2) This makes it hard to finesse shadow areas. 

I know that a lot of Asian-style painting is often defined by its lack of shadows, but there has to be a creative solution to this problem. Not sure what it is yet...