Stem education

I’ve written about creating dandelion stems by painting on ribbon before, in this post.  But I just learned a new technique and thought I’d pass it on.

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I started with 1/4-inch-thick white ribbon.  Then I mixed some Pebeo silk paint to a nice green and painted it on.  The color is slightly different from one end of the stem to the other on purpose, for natural variation.

Then I loaded my little brush with some of the lightening medium (pictured below) and stroked it down the middle of the stem.  It “washes out” the green, making it scurry away to the edges, but then the green stays at the edges of the ribbon because it has nowhere else to go.   I did this while the green paint was still damp.  It makes the stem look 3D with very little effort from me.

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I waited for it to dry then painted over the middle part with a yellow shade to warm it up a bit, while keeping the 3D look.  Then I took this splendidly blurry photograph!

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Then I took a couple of better ones, our model is the second from the top.

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And finally upright, as seen in nature.  Ribbons are useful for depicting all sorts of thick-stemmed flowers.   Before you plan your picture, make sure you can get hold of ribbon in the right width for the scale you want to work in.  If you’re only able to find a wider or narrower ribbon, that will decide the scale of the whole picture.

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