This week I've had time to start and complete The Giant Lobster Claw (Heliconia) tropical flower, one of the hundreds of flowers that I took photos of on my recent trip to Cairns in Far North Queensland (Australia). I love the colours and exotic splendour of tropical plants. They really are my favourite kind of flowers and foliage to paint.
Heliconias are found in rainforest areas and are native to South America and some Pacific Island areas. The flowers are actually small white parts in the middle of brightly coloured, waxy bracts (not visible in my above photo). This Heliconia is nicknamed Lobster Claw for the obvious resemblance. These plants are related to bananas and have similar large bright green leaves. They have similar growing conditions to gingers and Cannas.
The first steps were to draw the sketch of the main shapes I wanted to use from my reference photo. Then I filled in the main red areas of the Lobster Claw. I use Art Spectrum brand paints and the dark red colour was Permanent Crimson and the lighter pink parts are Opera Rose (This was a Windsor and Newton). To create the intensity of colour I desired, I did a couple of layers of the Crimson.
For the green parts and surrounding foliage, I've used Spectrum Yellow underneath, then as that has dried, have layered it with Sap Green and Australian Green Gold. For the darker foliage, I've used Pthalo Green and Oxide of Chromium. I've also used brown highlights with Burnt Sienna Hue.
Sacha Grossel is a practising Visual Artist from Australia.