Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Jacaranda Fever

 The jacaranda trees are blooming everywhere,  and while I have made some progress on the nectarine and apple blossoms, I have given into the seduction of the riot of lavender and blues and purples and have spent the day measuring, sketching and colour matching. I am not sure what I will be doing with the composition, but sort of have this idea that I would like to see it cascading down from the top of the frame. I have concentrated on getting the colours matched and things as the blooms look like they will drop any minute and there is no way I could have the work complete in time. It has been a great  productive day and not thinking about the finished work and composition has freed me up to really observe the blooms and the connections to the stems in more detail and I think that will be time well spent. I will continue to do another page of sketches before I start I think, and try to get some highly detailed sketches of the blooms while there are still so many around, but the tree in our street is starting to shoot some leaves which means that the blooms don't have long left.
I am going to try to get some sketches of the bark also, even though I don't think that I will be showing much in the final piece, but because I think it will be a lovely juxtaposition of the craggy rough bark and the green shoots which support the flowers and then the delicate blooms themselves. One of the things I love about Botanic Art is that you think you know what a plant looks like, but then you sit and observe them closely and you realise that you haven't seen them at all, and all the beautiful little details come through, and from then on you see that plant differently, and see it more clearly and in its full beauty. It is so nice to have the time to sit and look closely at things, which is something that is disappearing from our busy lives. It makes me feel quite blessed.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Hydrangea complete... almost

This is the last scan I took of the Hydrangea, and I had thought it was done, though the scanned continues to drop out some of the deeper tones, so it looks much flatter than it does on the wall. Having said that it is quite a good exercise to look at it this way, because it showed up that I needed to deepen and darken some shadows and sharpen up some outlines, and the finished piece looks much better for it. It looks stronger and crisper and I will drop down and get a good scan of it next week when I visit the printers for a few things and will post the scanned image then.
The following two drawings, which I admit are difficult to see in these images, but I work very lightly in the early stages so it is easier to erase and doesn't interfere with the work or damage the surface of the paper. For a while now I have been looking at different blossoms on fruit trees and I love the juxtaposition of the beautiful delicate flowers against, what is usually quite a gnarly and twisted bark. They are also quite spring like to me, even though they don't usually bloom is spring, but I love them so I am getting stuck in.
I have had two photos of some blooms and have been busy doing drawings and plans and going back to my colour swatches and am well along the way with both. I have the watercolour complete on the small bloom and have even started laying down the first touches of pencil, while the second is much more complex so the watercolour is still progressing. I am trying to spend more time over the watercolour and really use it to put some of the tonal scale in place to make the pencil work quicker and also so I can work in a much clearer fashion, not getting confused by which leaf is which, or which petal starts where, which is the normal situation. I also put a lot more thought into composition and how I can best suggest the rest of the tree. I will post the watercolour progress as soon as they are done. Happy creativity to all for the weekend!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Progress on the Hydrangea

There is some progress on the hydrangea, and while I thought I would have it complete yesterday I got distracted with all sorts of things, like changing the look of the blog and playing with publisher to explore the idea of calendars, so I will get stuck in and finish it off today. Working on the picture in a more overall fashion rather than concentrating on one leaf at a time is taking some getting used to and while I actually moved quite a way along yesterday, it feels as though I haven't completed that much. If this follows the same progression as the violets, then it will be a bit of a feeling of getting nowhere and then all of a sudden it will be finished. I hope that is how it works with this one because I am not sure I trust the process yet, and must admit I have finished off one side more than the other to have a bit of n idea of where it is heading, and looking at that I do see there will be a bit of work at the end bringing it all together and deepening those shadows. The frustrations and fun of trying new things!!!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Jasmine Bomb

The last few days have been very special, partly because I have a wonderful family and very special friends who made my birthday this incredible day, but also because I dropped my finished pieces to Redlands Gallery for Brushstrokes from the Bush which will open in December. Dropping work off is a great feeling and gives a sense of excitement and completion which makes it easy to get in and start fresh work.To top it all off the jasmine which covers a trellis just outside our front door has suddenly burst into flower and the scent is flooding throughout the whole house. It suddenly feels as though Spring is finally here and with it comes a renewed sense of well being and motivation.

Of course it is only likely to last a few days as we are expecting more of the torrential unseasonal rain which has been plaguing us here in Queensland, but all the windows and doors are open and for today at least the house is awash with Spring.

To celebrate I have cleaned off my walls, moved around some framed work and pieces that have caught my eye and cleaned out and reorganised the draws where I store my paper and artworks, so all is organised and ready to go. I also spent some time drawing the jasmine and getting some photographs in case the rain comes early because I have been visualising a piece where the jasmine trails down from the top of the page. Before I start that though I need to finish off this hydrangea bloom close up which I have been playing with for ages. It is actually progressing quite quickly and I am trying to apply some of the things I learned from doing the violets to get through it at a better pace. If all goes to plan I will be able to post the complete work on here before the week is out, and fingers crossed the sketches of the jasmine drawing may even make an appearance.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Ready For Brushstrokes From The Bush

Yesterday was a great day and I got all the blooms done, and the stems finished and I am pretty much finished with this piece. I have some highlights to add to the blooms, but as the day is wet and miserable that will ave to wait until tomorrow. I have it on the wall and will be able to see what shadows need deepening as well, so not only will it be finished before the deadline, by days no less, but will even have time to have it there and see what refinements can be made. Feeling rather smug, so maybe it is time to attack that hydrangea bloom and get it finished off, if anything will bring me back to earth it will be that one, also looking at the pic I have just posted maybe I need to work out how to adjust the colours on the scans images so they are a  little more accurate - seems to drop out the mid tones, and even the very deep tones as well. But you get the general idea!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

The deadline for the Brushstrokes from the Bush exhibition at The Redlands Gallery is looming just around the corner and I have started a fresh piece for it. I had started a black and white rendering of some native violets, but time is too short to finish a large project, so I have started again on a very small piece of the same subject in the hope that I won't sacrifice quality in the rush to try to get it done in time. I have also decided to tackle it in colour and hope I can capture the delicacy of the violets and the incredible rich purple of the blooms.

The first layer of watercolour went down very easily, as did the initial sketch, but I think that was helped by familiarity with the subject after the black and white piece that I had started, and though it took forever to dry due to some wet weather leaving the paper a bit soft for pencil work, I used the time to plan the colours and do plenty of trials. I have been a bit guilty of working it out on the piece and while the results are usually pretty good, but I suspected that it is more time consuming and as this piece progresses I am finding it is going along quickly.
The leaves did start to come together really quickly and I tried to work over multiple leaves at once rather than one at a time which is how I normally work. I am trying to ensure that I achieve more consistency and also that I don't waste time having to get back into it if I need to take a break, which lets be honest is very likely. I would lose time getting back and replicating where I was and ensuring that they are all the same. The following photos show the progression of the leaves, and while I have a few stems to complete I think I should be completing the blooms first as the bloom I have started would have been better if I could have adjusted it a bit more, but I was unable to do that because the stalk had already been completed. So the plan is to complete the blooms today and then the stalks and finally look at some deepening of shadows to pull it together. Fingers crossed I will post the finished product tomorrow and will still have a few days up my sleeve before it is to dropped off.