The surface I used is Strathmore Art Again paper, Moonstone colored, and the drawing is 12x12". As an experiment, I chose a neutral gray color in which to work, leaving some of the paper showing through on the roots. The blossoms are very delicate and I always enjoy creating shadow and values in white by using various colors instead of gray. I am always fascinated by the unique shapes, lines and colors of orchids and so enjoy drawing them.
When I finished rendering the orchids in colored pencil, I mounted the paper onto a 12x12" Ampersand cradled Claybord securely with Grafix Double Tack Mounting Film so I would work on the background in watercolor pencil and the paper wouldn't buckle. I began with a layer of Derwent Inktense and Caran d'Arche watercolor pencils in various brown colors and then added water with a brush to create an even wash, working carefully around the orchids. However, if I did get some of the watercolor on the waxy pencil drawn areas, I could easily wipe it off.
When the watercolor was dry, I added Prismacolor Black Raspberry, applied lightly but evenly all over the the background. The brown watercolor underneath and the Black Raspberry were still too warm for a background so I added layers Prismacolor Utramarine and Black Grape over the Black Raspberry but around the flower, leaving the Black Raspberry showing through in areas near the borders for change.
Above is my test sheet. I usually make a test sheet for each piece so I can test colors before I put them on my drawing. At this point, I wanted to add gold to the piece and thought about gold leaf but then thought it might be too solid and detract from the delicate orchids. As an experiment, I picked up some Rub N Buff and tried it on my test paper. I liked how I could apply it unevenly and vary the thickness or thinness of the application so I rubbed it with my fingers into the composition around the orchids, using a masking paper to cover the orchids.
If you're not familiar, Rub N Buff is made of wax and powdered pigment and is used to touch up or restore antiques and frames. I've used it to touch up dents in frames and decided to try it in my drawing. Depending on the light the piece reflects, it will be bright or subtle. I am going to varnish this piece and frame it in a floater.