Assignment 3 – Leaves

I was really excited for Assignment 3, but for various reasons (including finishing my 4th year at University, moving house and county, and welcoming into the world 7 jackapoo puppies) I only had 2 weeks to paint, rather than 2 months. Those 2 weeks were manic, and unfortunately I couldn’t create exactly what I wanted. Here is a short photographic summary of assignment 3.

Composition

For this piece, I really struggled with the composition. A minimum of 8 leaves are required, and I wanted to avoid just plonking down (love that word) 8 leaves on a page. I wasn’t too happy with my final composition, but with time constraints it would do!

Image

Image

Neither of the above compositions are the final piece. It so happened that the Iris instantly found it’s place as the leaf to plan the composition around. I liked the ivy coming down from the corner as in the righthand photo. In the end I decided to keep each leaf as it grows, i.e. the Acer hanging down as it does from the tree, the ivy climbing across the page, and all the other leaves growing upwards from the ground.

I am told with compositions with multiple specimens such as this, it works best to keep the heavier components a the base of the painting. I kept this in mind, with the hellebore in the bottom right.

Ivy

Image

Image

Image

Euonymus

IMG_3623

IMG_3624

IMG_3629

Rosa

IMG_3669

Iris

IMG_3685

Hellebore

 IMG_3701 IMG_3702 IMG_3704 IMG_3714

Geranium 

IMG_3715IMG_3721

IMG_3723

IMG_3729

Acer

 

IMG_3772

IMG_3775

IMG_3797

 

Beech

IMG_3780  IMG_3784

IMG_3786

IMG_3788IMG_3791

IMG_3792

The Final Piece

IMG_3794

IMG_3317

Bold Washes

One of things I love about watercolour is the way you can build up layers of washes to create different effects. You can lay down really bold colours first, and when other colours are layered on top, everything can soften together and create a really interesting effect. I’ve demonstrated this with an ivy leaf.

I kept my mix for this really simple. Indathrone Blue  and Hansa Yellow Light (both Daniel Smith).

I determine first which areas of the leaf are facing away from the light, and which parts are not. This is a general impression, the details of shadows are added in later.

On the areas away from the light I laid down a wash of Indanthrone blue, and areas facing the light I laid down a wash of Hansa Yellow Light.

IMG_5509

 

I then use a mix of the two to add in the details, now adding areas of shadow.

IMG_3543

 

I’ll go and finish painting it now!

IMG_3317

Jasmine

So, 6 weeks (or so) later I have completed my Jasmine… And most excitingly I have completed all the art diploma work that I will need to whilst also tackling university work; my next assignment (leaves in watercolour) will have my undivided attention!

I thought I would do a short summary of the process of drawing the Jasmine polyanthum. You can see it grow!

ImageImageImage

TWO CLOSE UPS:

ImageImage

THE FINISHED PIECE:

Image

Thank you to everyone on here who gave my advice before starting! I hope you are all satisfied with the result!

Image

 

 

Jasmine or Fern?

I’m still struggling with what to draw for my second assignment… If I sit at home and try and decide from scratch what my next subject will be I get absolutely nowhere. I need to be in a garden, or in a nursery, or just in nature to get inspiration.

People often try and give me ideas, and it never works (namely my Mother – love you, Mum) I get a feeling when I see the right flower or plant, I can’t really explain it.

This time is was a new nursery I discovered in the New Forest in Hampshire. I couldn’t make my decision there and then, and came home with a house Jasmine, and an interesting looking Fern.

I’ve had them a week and I still haven’t decided. In fact, I’ve started drawing the Jasmine and I’m still not sure I’ve made the decision, what do you think? Maybe I’ll have time to do both…

JASMINE:

ImageImage

OR FERN?

Image

Facebook

To all my wonderful followers,

I have created a Facebook Page!

I am staying here too, though. My plan is to keep my blog for longer posts such as step-by-step pictures of creating a full piece, and to use Facebook for quicker photo updates of work, as well as updates on my assignment marks and feedback etc. ‘Like’ the page if you wish.

I love sharing what I do, because of the support I get from you all, but mainly because I am opened up to a world of art and inspiration from your blogs themselves.

Love to all of you!

Helen x

Assignment 1

This afternoon I went to the post office and dropped off my first assignment to be sent to Guy William Eves, a wonderful botanical artist and tutor on the SBA Diploma. It feels incredibly exciting (and intimidating!) knowing that he will be judging my work. He will also be marking Assignment 2.

In my previous posts I have described the outline drawing required for the first part of the assignment, and the stippled lily for the second part, so I will focus this post on the final part.

I chose to draw a hyacinth, and as I got into planning the composition I realised I wanted to include not just the stem and flower head but also the leaves, and also the bulb and the wonderful roots. Inevitably the piece got far too large and intricate for assignment 1… but I managed to get it finished.

Image

I really liked the composition, and I did enjoy drawing the hyacinth, but I have to say I do find pencils much harder than watercolours (I am dying to reach for my paintbrushes). I struggle with keeping the paper crisp and clean despite all attempts to do so (my drawing board has tracing paper everywhere!)

So below are the final 3 drawings that I sent today, plus a tonal strip and a note to my tutor with a few points, particularly querying the size of my pieces.

IMG_2813

And here they are all ready to be sent!

IMG_2814

This was such an exciting day for me today. Although I’m feeling apprehensive now, I definitely know that I am going to be completely in my element during my year out from my studies. I can’t wait to see what I can come up with for the next assignments.

Now for a breather whist I wait for my feedback before Assignment 2. Perhaps I can start thinking about my subject choice…!

Completed Stippled Lily

Stippling is fun, but requires a lot of patience. Only now I realise actually how much detail about the subject you can portray just through lines and dots!

This is only my first attempt, so I’m no expert, but I can hopefully pass on some tips that I have learnt doing this exercise:

Image

  1. Start with a clean, clear line drawing. Include any details such a main veins, thorns, and any defining features such as small areas of pigmentation. Be happy with it before you start thinking about stippling. Once you have started stippling an area, adding lines on top is risky. It can end up very messy. 
  2. Lay down your dots in lines, not randomly. With randomly scattered dots it can be difficult to keep the form and tone even, and can look chaotic. Lay down lines of dots, varying in lengths and varying the distance between them to create your darker and lighter tones. 
  3. Take breaks. Laying down those tiny dots takes a lot of concentration. It’s very easy to want to power through, but you’ll soon realise your dots are becoming little lines, and your neat rows of dots are weaving all over the place and looking untidy. I reckoned 10 minutes stippling at a time was plenty! Lots of tea breaks…!

My next post will be of my completed  SBA diploma Assignment 1. I will break down exactly what I have had to do, and show you the finished pieces!

Stippled Lily

For the second part of my first assignment they ask us to use the stippling technique on a flower, stem and leaf. I’ve never stippled before, and after practicing with pencil and pen I decided that pen was much neater, much cleaner and gave a much better result!

For a new technique, I didn’t want to rush straight in to the final piece (something that I am very prone to doing!) I chose to draw a lily for the final stippled piece, so I practiced with a lily also.

Here is my first study, unfinished to show my progress:          (apologies for the poor photographs)

IMG_2696

IMG_2698

I shall post the final stippled piece, along with my thoughts as to how it went and tips on stippling, in my next post!

Society of Botanical Artists

I feel like I have a lot of news to share and catch up on. I’ve been accepted onto the Society of Botanical Artists Distance Learning Diploma: a big decision for me that has led me to take a year out of my medical studies. This started in January, lasts 27 months, and is considered a leading botanical illustration course, certainly within the UK. 

I received my package with all of the information, some materials, and a name badge! A super exciting day. 

Image

Image

Until June I am going to be balancing University with this Diploma. Assignment 1 started on January 1st 2014, and is due on the 28th February. There are 3 components: a simple line drawing (the kind that would be used prior to painting), a stippled drawing, and a full tonal pencil piece. 

Here is Part 1 (this is on tracing paper, I am yet to transfer to watercolour paper):

Image

 

I am really looking forward to using the blog to document my progress on this Diploma for the next 2 years or so!

 

Dried Roses – Composition

Having seven roses to work with, my next challenge has been to think about a composition. There were so many options. My technique  of creating a painting involves drawing the subject, then using tracing paper to create an ink line drawing. This technique is really useful for planning compositions.

The photograph below shows the penultimate composition:Image

I liked the centre rose facing forward, and having a rose on each side looking out the edge of the page. After that, I wanted to show the different aspects and views of the rose heads. The only view missing from the arrangement in the photograph is seeing the rose head directly from behind. I changed the final composition to incorporate this:Image

I knew I wasn’t satisfied with the stems. I think that the stems are one of the most important parts of this composition, I’ll make sure that I focus on these when it comes to putting the whole thing together.

Image