Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Prurient Apparitions (according to Ruskin)

So, with the bramble piece heading to it's happy destination, and some more of my pieces off to my printer for scanning, the studio feels rather empty. Time to cheer myself up with a nice cup of tea, and a trawl through the books and sketchbooks in the hunt for inspiration. And onto a couple of quick studies to get me going again. 

Waiting for plants to come into their own can be a bit nerve wracking. I was hoping to capture the gloriously festive blooms of my Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide', but alas it would appear that my little specimen is not quite grown up enough and isn't going to produce any flowers this year. Now that really is a nuisance as I was really looking forward to tackling their bright red, open faced-flowers. Of course, there are lots of other things in the winter garden but I did have a bit of a sulk.

Elsewhere, the step-by-step chili study was really fun and I think I might post a few more of these little practise pieces as I found the process rather insightful. Something that caught my eye in the sketchbook was the preparation page I got going about a year ago for an orchid.

I am always attracted to the backs of flowers

The back view of a flower not only gives anatomical information for the botanical artist, but is often a beautiful subject in itself.

A white background helps to retain the colour information

Finding the right colour mix from the archives

Now, orchids are a strange beast, native to every continent, they grow by relying on sustenance from a symbiotic relationship with other plants. But never mind how they grow, it's their reputation for inducing rather naughty and suggestive thoughts. Let's just say that the Victorian critic, artist and leading social thinker John Ruskin called orchids, 'prurient apparitions'. Ooh I say! On the other hand, Martin Luther King Jr said of the exotic bloom,

"when two friends understand each other totally, the words are soft and strong, like and orchid's perfume"

Ah, that's better. Now onto the sketch...

The colours I used for this sketch are, Permanent Rose, Carmine Genuine, French Ultramarine, Perylene Maroon, Lemon Yellow and Winsor Violet

A mix of Winsor Violet and Permanent Rose for the first wash

Using a clean, damp brush to pull out the highlights

Carmine, Permanent Rose and Winsor Violet

After a number of layers
Here I was beginning to think that I hadn't got the colour quite right but decided to finish the flower anyway to see how it would turn out. A bit too purple for my liking.

Hmm, this one will go into the sketchbook, but I must go back to my colour theory.



shevaun said...

Love this! I can understand where Ruskin is coming from... they are all about sex, but they are so lovely too! Gorgeous sketchbooks... you'll have to bring them to London next time so I can peruse them at leisure! :)

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

Indeed they are, (I had to look up prurient and it made me blush). I'll need a wheelbarrow for my sketchbooks,ha ha.

Janene said...

It looks like you had fun with this sketchbook study of the orchid, and I enjoyed going along for the ride. I have had trouble with that pink/purple color in the past too--its a tricky one!

Claire said...

Lovely Jarnie ,I'll go and look up prurient now!!! ;)

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

yes it was fun to do this and I am liking the step-by-step process too. The colour was trouble as it looked perfect for it but when it dried, quite different.x

Ha, ha looking up prurient made nme blush Caire.x

Carol Hopper said...

Have you tried using opera rose (winsor and Newton artist quality) I find with a little bit of adjustment it is ideal for these flowers. Its a very vibrant colour with dries just a bright as the wet wash.

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

Carol, you have come to my rescue, I have Opera and never thought to use it! :)