The Rhino and the Lady – an experiment

I started this week’s art as an experiment. I had previously come across the plant “Honesty” (Lunaria annua) which has the most beautiful seed pods. Here’s a photo by Josef F. Stuefer from Wikipedia…

Used and resized under Creative Commons Licence (Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0))

I really like the way the seed pods have this dark line around them. I wanted to se if I could create that using watercolour without actually drawing the line.

To do this I wet the area of each pod with water, then added some strong paint. Then I added some water in the middle which tends to push the pigment out to the edges. This is how I thought I might be able to get the paint and water to make the line for me!

Here is how that turned out…

And here is a close look at how the paint behaved…

So the answer to my experiemental question is yes, I can get the paint and water to draw the line for me! However the line was not clear enough or clean enough for the picture I wanted to make.

After I’d had a cup of tea I decided to make an ink drawing over the top of this painting experiment.

So I inked a drawing over the top and then finished it by directly painting in some details to both the seed pods and the two creatures I put into the picture. One was the Five-horned Rhinoceros Beetle (Eupatorus gracilicornis) just taking flight and the other was a Common Seven-spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata).

Here is the final illustration “The Rhino and the Lady”

I find it difficult to stray from realism, so finishing this was really encouraging, since I used the shape of the plant’s seed pods but not the colour and did the same with the two beetles (although you can bearly see it with the ladybird). This painting is one of those turning points in life, were you can feel a different way of doing things growing inside.

On the realism front though I think it would be wonderful to make a pencil drawing of the seed pods and a large line and wash painting of the Rhinoceros Beetle as it unfurls it’s wings in black and white (So the only paint I would use would be black watercolour diluted down.) Of course I could experiment here and have a go at doing ink washes. I wonder how they might compare to watercolour washes?

4 thoughts on “The Rhino and the Lady – an experiment

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