1.  The image of Rex Begonias, Calathea, Caladium and Croton is divided into a pleasing arrangement of rectangles. My vision was to create the illusion of separate panels displayed together as a unit, as if the painting was cut into pieces.

The rectangular spaces were taped off to create clean, sharp edges on each "panel" when the tape is removed. I began the begonias with the darkest red values along the leaf margins and the centers.
2.  Bold, dark and light stripes radiate from the midrib of the calathea leaves. The overlapping angles and curves suggest swirling, jostling energy.
Tropical Mix  watercolor demonstration of colorful foliage
5.  The undefined pink mass of the caladium is corralled into individual leaves with the addition of green margins and random green spots and splotches.

Red glazed over the begonia leaves in the lower right gives good balance to the upper left corner.

4. The dark value patterns of the begonia in the lower right give some weight to the bottom of the painting.

Yellow and orange stripes bring out the croton on the right.
3.  A pinkish background is established on the ruffled, arrowhead-shaped caladium leaves.

Bright yellow and blue green are glazed over the entire surface of the calathea leaves. It changes the character of the dark green stripes of the underpainting, and gives color to the light stripes.

The begonias get a layer of stippled green and the veins are emphasized.
6. Dark values in the upper third of the painting give more depth to the leaf clusters. 

A tracery of red spidery veins is a hallmark of this caladium cultivar.

7. The challenge in making something look 3-dimensional on a flat piece of paper is the proverbial carrot on a stick for an artist devoted to realism. We use illusion upon illusion to trick the eye and mind into seeing real objects. ​It's all about fooling the eye; making objects in a painting look real by manipulating value, edges and color. 

The foundation of realism is understanding and portraying values: light and dark, highlight and shade, reflected light and cast shadow. To make sense of our world through vision, we need only the basic ability to distinguish many shades of gray on a continuum between black and white, and to differentiate between sharp and blurred edges. 

We have no trouble understanding the content of black and white photos and movies. But like Dorothy, upon opening her door to the Land of Oz, our interest is piqued and our emotions come alive with the powerful influence of color.


Watercolor Demo
Tropical Mix
The colorful, intricately patterned foliage of tropical plants rivals the blooms for attention and a few ooohs and aaahs. Folks from cold, dry climates who visit southern California or the Gulf Coast marvel when they see their "houseplants" growing outdoors, huge and lush, the year around.

This eye-catching display growing snug and warm in a greenhouse was bursting with interesting shapes and color combinations.
Tropical Mix 
19"x25.5"  framed
$600.00      ©2012
Watercolor demonstration of color foliage by artist Lisa Hill Step 1
Watercolor demonstration of color foliage by artist Lisa Hill Step 2
Watercolor demonstration of color foliage by artist Lisa Hill Step 3
Watercolor demonstration of color foliage by artist Lisa Hill Step 4
Watercolor demonstration of color foliage by artist Lisa Hill Step 5
Watercolor demonstration of color foliage by artist Lisa Hill Step 6
Watercolor demonstration of color foliage by artist Lisa Hill Step 7
Vibrant caladium and begonia leaves in watercolor by artist Lisa Hill
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