Thursday, 5 April 2012

Dazzling Dissections?

The art of an accurate dissection for botanical illustrations is something of a unique challenge. Since I tackled the dissection of a Clematis Montana back in May last year for an SBA assignment, I haven't tried one since, (perhaps because it didn't come out too well). My latest piece needs to demonstrate a dissection so it's here we go again!

A seed head section from Clematis Montana tetrarose 

My slightly irregular dissections.
Put some petals on the one on the left will you!!
Must try harder methinks!

Wildflowers are notoriously fragile and short-lived, painting them was a real challenge. But then came the dissections! Waiting for the seed heads, berries and hips to arrive is a painstakingly long affair but late last summer I was rewarded with some real delights to use as dissections for Working in the Field. 

So here are some of the outline drawings ready to be painted, a little faint yes, but I cannot wait to get going with the colour. 

Stand well back!
Meadow Cranesbill seed heads have a high
velocity method of spreading their seeds.

Dog Rose hips contain hairy little seeds

And with some colour

A little while ago Jess at Inky Leaves recommended this book, or should I say tome, (it's got a fair bit in it) that covers every inch of a plant's bits and pieces in great detail and helps the reader to understand what they are actually looking at, of course there is also a great deal of 'stuff' which went right over my head, but I love a challenge.

Plant Systematics by Michael G Simpson is one of those hefty scientific, University textbook type affairs that booksellers love to file under the, 'rare' or 'science' label therefore putting a hefty price tag on, (over £50 on Amazon and £70 at WH Smith, ouch). Libraries also tend to cling on to such publications like the Crown Jewels as people are fond of pinching them. So much so that some won't let you take it out of the building, spoil sports! Ah well, back to the magnifying glass.

One for the connoisseurs amongst you
but a worthy find that has loads of diagrams

Like this one! Getting to the nitty-gritty
of floral diagrams

Sarah Simblet in her book, Botany for the Artist also gives some great sketches and drawings of plant dissections.

And in detail.
Getting down to the business of cutting up your prize blooms
 to find out what's going on in there




renatabarillipainter said...

When I started dissectiond for the SBA, I was a bit uncofortable as I found it difficult, but now I love them. hope to buy the special books. I love your Geranium pratense drawing.

Hedera said...

Your pencil sketch is lovely and delicate... The Margaret Flockton Award (scientific botanical illustration) winners were selected recently - you might find the link interesting as well.

Have a great week. :)

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

Hi Renata, good to hear that you have got to grips with the dreaded dissections!!

That sounds really intersting Hedera. Thanks for the link, I will certainly check it out :)