Foxglove Digitalis botanical watercolour painting
The Foxglove watercolour painting turned out to be far more complex than I expected. I painted the whole Foxglove, rather than a section. It is a very fine detail painting, depicting all the hairs inside the flowers, the pink speckled patterns within the flowers and the crinkled, complex patterns of the Foxglove leaves.
I created a very detailed pencil drawing of the Foxglove, before starting to paint. I drew all the spottled patterns in the flowers, to achieve the correct shapes. This allowed me to also layout where the fine hairs crossed the speckled shapes.
Above you can see the first watercolour layers have been applied. At the top are the green flowers buds yet to open, with the flowers opening more as they descend. All the pink speckles have one layer of paint (yes, I have to paint them again and again, building a stronger colour). Not all speckles have the same depth of colour and some are in the shade. All these factors affect how many layers of watercolour paint each speckle has.
Painting the green buds and leaves
While the pink speckles dry, I start painting the green buds again, building layers. First initial pale yellow washes were applied, as the emerging flowers have a yellow/ green hue, before fully emerging as white flowers. I painted the buds and flowers first, before painting the green foliage surrounding them. I applied a darker green hue to the foliage, but it still required many layers to build depth of tone.
Foxglove complex leaf patterns
Firstly I applied a blue/ black mix to the inside of the tubular flowers for shade tones. This starts to give shape and structure to the flowers. The newer flowers still have tinges of yellow and green as well.
Then I began painting the complex swirls and criss cross patterns of the Foxglove leaves. This required enormous amounts of concentration and patience. Blue washes were applied first, then pale greens. Then using a fine watercolour brush, the criss cross patterns were laid out. Finally each criss cross section was individually painted.
No white paint, no masking fluid, the paper is the white
Every small highlight of white on the criss cross leaf pattern is the paper. Basically a small area that I left unpainted. I don’t use masking fluid to protect the white areas. I prefer to control the watercolour brush. You can see it’s a painstaking process, but worth the effort.
All the white flowers and the white hairs in the flowers are areas left unpainted. So I used a very tiny brush to paint the pink speckles, leaving strands in them, to represent the hairs. This required a lot of controlled brushwork.
Four primary watercolours to create palette mixes
I usually use three primary colours to mix all my colours, but I used an extra yellow for this Foxglove botanical watercolour.
At last after many hours I have completed the Foxglove botanical watercolour painting. Beautiful fine, intricate detail of a Foxglove.