Art Tutorials

Ginkgo Leaf part 3 – Watercolour wash

ginkgowash-palette.jpgThe ink has dried, the leaf is ready for some colour.

Using a very soft brush (synthetic squirrel is a good option) and working wet-in-wet, I am using Yellow Ochre as a base, with some Hansa Yellow Light and Burnt Sienna. I had originally planned to use Quinacridone Gold but decided later it wasn’t needed. I always try to have a meticulous plan, but I also make sure I stay flexible, so that I give room for the watercolours to do what they want. They have a strong mind of their own and it is better to adapt to their choices than to try bossing them around. The results are more natural and harmonious that way. I am also using Burnt Umber for the warmer brown and Raw Umber for the shadowy, cooler brown.

ginkgo wash 1 RED

As I work wet-in-wet, I cover the whole leaf in water and then drop the paints in. I am mixing the paints on the paper rather than on the palette: a base of Ochre, some Hansa Yellow Light to the right side and some Burnt Umber and a bit of Burnt Sienna on the left. They all merge nicely while the water is drying, giving lots of variations. I am painting three wet-in-wet washes with the same colours. The wet washes have diluted the ink just a little bit, blending the veins into the texture without erasing them.

It is then time for a bit of dry brush work, adding Raw Umber inside the fold at the top of the stem and dragging some of the colour along the veins. Then with a damp brush on dry paper, I paint the stem, with a bit less yellow and a bit more of the Earth colours (Umbers and Siennas). A touch of Raw Umber to the large blemish around the torn edge and that’s enough paint. Let the ink do most of the work…ginkgo wash done RED

If you want to get some of the colours I used for this tutorial, you can find them here and the Neptune brush I used here.

I have done a video tutorial as well, which you can find on my YouTube channel here:


Happy painting!




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