Thursday, 5 December 2013

Seasons to be Cheerful

With the chilly days of winter, (although that doesn't officially start until the 21st December, the shortest day) starting to set in, it's time to stay in and stay warm. And so, with the woodburner lit once more, it's time to snuggle up with the tomes from the bookshelf and dream of spring.  

Wishful thinking there. Of course not, there's no time for such musings, there is work to be done and no time to do it. Back to that sketchbook then, for ideas and practise and a romp round the garden to see how things are doing. Many of our trees still have their leaves on and the last of the roses are just about hanging on too with a couple of late blackberries giving the blackbirds a treat. The faded glories of summer are still there, if we look.

As you know, I have been pondering the next piece and it has been a real struggle to settle on a subject. Thinking about the pieces I already have, I don't really have any studies of flowers that I really like. That sounds a bit mad for a botanical artist really, but I haven't got a good, classical composition of a single plant subject, so now is the time to address that. Keeping it seasonal, interest in the winter garden may come from flowers, foliage, berries and dramatic evergreens. Classic winter blooms include Hellebores, Camellias, Witch Hazel and early flowering Iris, while foliage and berries can be found from Ivy, Holly and festive Mistletoe.

The ivy buds berries and flowers are always useful

An early graphite study of a variegated ivy leaf

Garrya elliptica has long tassel flowers. These don't arrive until Feb

My first painting of a Holly leaf for the leaf challenge last year

Last year, whilst completing the mixed and illustration pieces for my diploma, I had much the same problem and in the end settled for a mix of berries and catkins and an early flowering camellia. This time around, I would like something with a little more zing and I rather fancy the glossy evergreens and the architectural interest of cyclamens and early flowering rhododendrons, (they also have great looking buds). Although, I think I might keep it contemporary by selecting opening buds and backs of flowers as these are the bits that always hold my interest the most. We will have to see what I can get. 

Dahlia 'Party'

The back of a flower gives so much information as to the anatomy of how it forms and opens. The colour of the back of a petal can also be quite different from the front, so although this might be considered the 'showy' side, the back can also be quite beautiful. The dahlia I painted had a gorgeous 'raspberry ripple' effect that was more pronounced on the back of the flower, with green and burnt umber tones from the bud still in evidence. Really pretty. And buds too, I love buds.

Dahlia 'Party'


1 comment:

shevaun said...

Great post! I'm interested in seeing what you will come up with. I am the same in that I haven't yet come up with a flower study that I am happy with yet! Keep looking, Jarnie, you're inspiring!