Oh, while I was working on it I decided I liked it better turned this way (above) so it looks as if the branch is reaching up. In my original post, it was heading down like in this photo below.
The camera was having a hard time picking up on the true colors, which seems to happen with layers. The photos below are probably closer to the colors, but still don't show the richness. The background color is deep, but not dark, because it seems to have a nice glow coming through (all those years of painting faux-finishes paid off!).
Ok, so back to the process...
I wished that I had let more of the rusty-peach underpainting show through, so to bring back some of that warmth, I grabbed a orange water-soluable (WS) artist crayon by Lyra, and loosely doodled around the edges of the leaves, and onto the branches. I also rubbed some of the orange onto the background here and there. Then I used a brown WS crayon to add some shadowing and depth to the branches. The leaves and branches needed to "POP" a bit more against the background, so I used a white WS crayon along the edges of the leaves, and used it to create some highlights on the branches.
If you look closely at the branch in the picture below, you may notice a bit of text from the book pages peeking through! I love the subtle texture and depth that it brings to the painting.
I splashed some water over the canvas to make the WS crayons run and drip, and to soften the outlines in some areas. I took some white paint and lightly spattered it here and there on the background. I did the same with a bit of orange. I then took a deep turquoise blue paint and washed it over the background, then rubbed it all around the outside of the canvas and blended it in, to "frame it in". I thought it was done, so I sprayed it with a matte fixative to seal it. I still wasn't quite happy with it, and the spray had made some of the white fade away. I added more white, then stared at it for a while.
I kept ignoring the little voice that was telling me how to finish it, thinking "no way, that'll ruin it...that's crazy"! But I knew that's what needed to be done, so...I finally grabbed the brown WS crayon, let loose, and started drawing and slashing lines, or "scratches" all over the canvas! It was so much fun, I felt like a kid discovering crayons for the first time! I realized why it needed this...the areas originally collaged with book pages gave the painting such a great texture, but it only covered about half of the canvas. I didn't like the smooth areas as much, so this seemed to add that feel of texture along with uniformity to the whole painting. Plus I think it adds a bit of an unexpected edge to it.
So there it is. My wonderful husband came up with the title of the painting "Branching Out".
It is and I am.
What about you?
Have you "branched out" lately? Done something that makes you step outside of your comfort zone, to help you stretch and grow? Is there something you've been wanting to do but are too scared? Even if you just take baby steps, maybe it's time ....take a deep breath... get started and don't look back!