Thursday, 29 April 2010

A productive day

These are the beautiful Freesias sitting on my work desk making things smell and look lovely. I hate to think what they had to do to these poor flowers to get them to bloom in Autumn, but as long as they smell and look wonderful I will pretend not to think about it.

The cyclamen managed to commit suicide over the weekend which was inevitable given my history with cyclamen, but can't help feeling guilty about killing yet another perfectly healthy plant within two weeks of getting it. I may need to stick with cut flowers from now on. I had taken some photos of the blooms but I am a little worried about the colour matching without the plant in front of me. I have finished the graphite portions and yesterday managed to lay down the watercolour base, and so now have entered that slightly scary stage of adding the coloured pencils.

I always worry at this stage that I won't be able to get depth of colour or that the pencil strokes will show through, but fingers crossed it comes together. I am feeling a bit of extra pressure this time, because the graphite portion has come out really well, and so if I muck up the colour then the whole piece will be ruined. Fingers crossed today is another productive day and that I get plenty laid down so I can relax and enjoy the drawing again. Nothing to do but jump in and get it going!

Friday, 23 April 2010

A good day's work

Yesterday afternoon and evening saw me get through a great session with the background tonal work on the cyclamen plant starting to come along really well. I was really worried about the leaves and the issue of capturing both tone and the multicoloured aspect of the leaves. The leaves are very distinctive with their two tone areas and I was not sure how I could achieve that effect, but I am pleased with how it is going. I will go back and work into the edges of the leaves once I complete them all and then can add in a bit more tonal work according to the light source, but at the moment I am more concerned with the getting the first part down. I will add further darks once I have the colour complete so that I can balance it against the coloured blooms.

The blooms were a little more successful and I was pleased that I managed to capture the texture of the leaves as well as keep crisp edges and be able to achieve showing three dimensions while keeping a light touch. I wanted the tonal work to reflect the delicacy of the blooms compared to the solidness of the leaves.

I am heading back to it to hopefully get the rest of the plant completed today- and hopefully start on the watercolour for the blooms.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Tonal work under way

My workspace is getting a bit crowded with all the pencils, but looking at them sitting there ready to be used never fails to make me feel great and inspired. I love these pencils so much and they have opened up so many new possibilities. they blend like a paint and build up without being waxy so you can work on them again and again, but they also don't have that "linyness" of many pencils- they give me so much freedom to put in detail with much more control than I could manage in watercolour. Unfortunately I have a way to go before I can get to use them on this work. I have finished the layout and have done the initial sketch onto the watercolour paper. I have started on some tonal work, but it is slow going with the dampness of the paper due to the wet weather. I am starting to lay in all but the final details in the black and white and then do the watercolour for the flowers, and then finally will get to the coloured pencils. I will then go back and put in the final darks for the background picture so I can balance it out against the bright colours of the blooms.

I was worried about it just being too bright, and would almost look a bit plastic if I did the whole plant in colour, and I also feel as though the cyclamen is quite a busy plant. This is a one of the blooms that are on the plant which is sitting on my desk for a reference. I have used it to do the initial sketches and for colour reference, but it was such a riot of leaves and stems that it would have been overwhelming so I have used parts to construct my composition. Hopefully this experimenting with the black and white and colour will describe the plant well, but will highlight the beautiful blooms, and still be a pleasing end result.
I am seeing finally seeing some blue sky so hopefully the paper will start to dry out and I can get on with it before the plant looks any sadder than it already does.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

A starting point

Here is the last piece of botanical art which I finshed and I am starting to feel confident about the approach and style that I am developing. As a relative beginner to botanical art I have found that the last year has been spent dabbling with this and that , but I feel as though I am finally finding my feet with this approach. I love to lay down the watercolours first and then add the detail and depth with polychromos coloured pencils. I am trying to achieve a look where the pencils work seemlessly with the watercolour so that it isn't obviously pencil and you aren't distracted by pencil marks, but rather see it as a complete piece of work.
I am starting a new botanical project this week and so it seemed the perfect time to get this started and see if it helps me to focus my attention and help me to track my thoughts and ideas as they develop. I have started with the idea of compleing a work with the subject of a cyclamen. They are just starting to flower and come into stores and gardens as the weather cools and it seemed like perfect timing. I also wanted to attempt to mix black and white graphite work with the watercolor and pencil approach to show more aspects of the plants and to highlight the gorgeous colours of the flowers without the distraction of the whoe plant beig in colour. they are so riotous and busy I thought that the flowers would be a little lost in there if I did the whole thing in colour. I will post stages as I complete them and want to use this as a reflective visual diary to better understand how I work and how I make articitc decisions and better understand my creative purpose.