Crimson Vine leaves – 30 minute Watercolour #50

Crimson Vine Leaves Vitis Coignetiae

The big, bold, broad leaves of the climbing Crimson Vine come to full glory  during the Autumn months. The Crimson Vine has green flowers, followed by small black grapes in Autumn that become insignificant against the large fiery red leaves. It is a vigorous climber and best left on its own to spread out. You may not notice it against a wall during summer with its dark green rough textured leaves, but come the Autumn and the leaves come to life, turning into a vivid orange, a bright scarlet and a deep crimson colour.

Crimson Vine leaves watercolour in 30 minutes
Crimson Vine 30 minute Watercolour

I came across the beautiful Crimson Vine on one of my walkabouts near my home. It was rigorously climbing an old, high sandstone wall and was nearing the top and making its escape. With the sunlight brightening, the already vibrant crimson leaves, it was hard to miss.

So perched in the muddy verge I sketched a quick outline of the leaves and was making notes of the tones of reds and blotches of remaining green, when the rain decided to descend with full force. So I quickly packed away (threw everything in my rucksack) and scurried home.

Once I was back in the studio I decided to complete the Crimson Vine leaves sketch, while it was still fresh in my mind. I applied green washes first, applying small dabs of paint to parts of the leaves, notably along the veins. Next I applied a weak red watercolour wash to the leaves, avoiding the green paint. Then I applied a deeper red wash layer to the veins and edges of the Crimson Vine leaves, I continued this process a few more times, until I was happy with the tone achieved. Then another layer of green wash.

Finally I used a stronger mix of red watercolour to apply small brushstrokes around the veins and edges of the leaves. Then I created a slightly looser crimson tone wash that I brushed along the edges of the leaves.

Hope you like the Crimson Vine leaves, I’m glad I found them before the rain came and just in case you’re wondering, it continued to rain for the rest of the day.

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Author: Helen Parry

I am a self-taught watercolour artist, which has been the best way for me to learn my own style and technique, as there are no boundaries. I love the luminosity and the subtle layers of colour I can achieve with watercolour and prefer to use this medium.