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.
Sketching in a muddy verge
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 made notes of the tones of reds and blotches of remaining green. I noted the date and the location as well. Sometimes I want to go back to a subject, but can easily forget where I first saw it. I make lots of sketches in muddy verges and lanes. I had just started to use watercolour pencils, as a reference for the colours, when the rain decided to descend with full force. So I quickly packed away (threw everything in my rucksack) and scurried home.
Crimson Vine Leaves watercolour process
Once I was back in the studio I decided to complete the Crimson Vine leaves sketch. It would be easier to paint 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. Then added 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. Just in case you’re wondering, it continued to rain for the rest of the day.