Painting a gold barrel cactus in watercolor

9 months ago, i didn’t dare to paint cactus in watercolor, because i didn’t know how to paint them. But know i can’t stop myself ! This week i’ll be painting an echinocactus, gold barrel cactus !

This cactus is in a big round shape a bit like a pouf but it has a tons of needles that look very mean ! I have hesitated a long time on the strategy for painting this subject. There is a lot of texture but the general shape is quite simple. So i have to create a complex texture but still create interest in the more simple areas. And for me, the best way to handle that is by using the gouache masking technique and acrylic inks.

Once i’ve made that decision, starting the painting is quite straight forward, i just have to let the technique show me the way. And while this painting could look like a big mess and could not please everybody, it’s a very fun and freeing technique to use and it’s also a very forgiving way to paint with watercolor !

Painting an echinocactus in video

Supplies :
Brushes : Escoda Último 1″ flat, Escoda Último nº8 rigger, Silver brush Black Velvet 1/4″ in dagger shape.
Paper : Arches hot pressed.
Colors : Indanthrene blue (Sennelier), Manganese blue hue (Daniel Smith), Amazonite genuine (Daniel Smith), Nickel azo yellow (Daniel Smith), Yellow ochre (Daniel Smith), Aussie red gold (Daniel Smith), Lavander (Daniel Smith), acrylic inks Sepia and indigo (Golden), Opaque white (Schmincke), Granulation medium (Winsor & Newton).

And here you have the finished painting (click to enlarge) :

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