Monday, June 28, 2010

Lifting Veins

After dry brushing we are asked to experiment with lifting veins. In this case, we are to apply clean water to lift and separate the pigment. I've done a bit of this where after applying water, one gets in with a tissue and mops it all up. See, in that case one picks up the pigment. Here the pigment remains, pushed to the sides.

It helps a good deal to catch the paper at just the right state of dampness. Too wet and the veins spread, too dry and one must work repeatably and only gain a lesser effect.

I think what I most liked was the effect created with parallel veining. I think it will well simulate the monocots like the grasses and those lilies that are challenging me.


  1. Oh, interesting! The long leaf does work well but so does the (nicely) foreshortened one bottom right.

    Veins are extraordinary. My mother went through a phase of extracting the veins alone from a variety of leaves. Beautiful, fragile skeletons with a very clear pattern of divisions so the veins cover the whole area of the leaf. The dividing rule for veins is probably one of those patterns we have lived with so long that we recognise it instinctively and say 'leaf'.

    I discovered the usefulness of 'lifting' some years ago but always felt a little guilty using it as I thought it must be a cheat. It works brilliantly on vellum in small areas because the surface is not very absorbent. Now I am gratified to discover that it's a bona fide watercolour artists' technique and I shall cease to call it 'scrubbing' and call it by its proper name. :-)

  2. We are encouraged to provide only "hints" of veins. I guess less can be more here.

    Something about this exercise... I wanted to think that part of the process would be to dab the wetted surface with something absorbent. Not so in this case--here it is more of furrowing out the pigment, creating both lighter and darker areas. Scans (and my abilities with this technique!) being what they are, that might not show very clearly but the technique seems to hint at shadowing about the vein.

    Your mother's work sounds beautiful. I can imagine these skeletons mounted and framed.