Every summer a hops plant takes over an arch in my garden, sending out shoots so rapidly in spring that you can almost see it growing. This week I painted it twice. On my first try I definitely wasn’t in the “zone”. My brush was too dry and the darks ended up dead and muddy. Plus, what I wanted to convey — the twisty tendrils and acid green leaves taking over the arch — did not come across well. I set it aside and the next day tried again.
On my second try I thought through the process a little more, and this time started with an underpainting of pale Azo Yellow over most of everything. When that was dry I mixed up some Prussian Blue and Burnt Sienna for the darks, but this time made sure my brush was really wet before I painted around the lights. With a rigger brush dipped into a tube of Holbein Leaf Green, I swirled in those crazy tendrils. By the time I was done the hops had grown another foot or so in all directions.