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:
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:
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.
I have begun a new project, 7 dried roses. I got given this bunch of lovely bright red roses from my boyfriend on returning from Africa (I had been there on a placement for 2 months). They have sat in their vase since August, drying out in the hope of creating an interesting subject!
After my practicing, practicing, practicing with the holly, I knew I wanted to do a full piece (with sufficient still practice of course, but not hours and hours!)
Below is my first attempt at the practice flower. In this case a study was essential, because I really had to look hard at the different colours and textures. The photograph of the rose above doesn’t do the dried petals any favours; the golden glow isn’t visible at all! Infact, when I look closely at the subject there is hardly any of that bright red at all – its amazing how different a photograph can appear!
Next job is to start thinking about a composition, including the other 6 stems!
I keep coming back to holly. I think I’ve found it my biggest challenge since starting botanical illustration. I think its the combination of the flat surface and the shine. I still remember an attempt I made a couple of years ago, that’s how much of a disaster I viewed it as (I would post a photo for the comedy value, but I can’t find the painting…….!)
I did quite a lot of browsing other botanical artists’ paintings of holly, and there is a lot of inspiration out there.
This is ‘Holly and Ivy’ by Gaynor Dickeson. She is a wonderful artist and has been a huge inspiration to me.
I knew that for my next holly attempt, I would need to practice, practice, practice. I drew multiple outlines of a holly leaf and set to work.
Here you can see my first 3 attempts, with some notes at the sides as to the colours I used, and the layers of washes. None of these felt right to me. By the 4th attempt I felt like I was getting somewhere.
A nice afternoon’s task, and something I’ve been meaning to do for a while, is create a greens colour chart. I’ve been told that it’s important, helpful, if not essential, for botanical illustration. I’ve been using it already, its stuck permanently on my art board for easy reference.
Note to self: find my camera to take half decent photos to post.
Here is my first study having taken the break from botanical illustration. I can find 101 things to criticise and change, but I’m just happy to be painting again. As rusty as I am now, I’m excited to see how … Continue reading →
I know a true artist should be able to create anytime, anywhere. But I’ve struggled at university. A students’ desk is for studying, supposedly, and once my desk space is laid out for art, it stays that way. This has unfortunately meant that art has been sidelined for the last year, hence my hibernation from Petals and Paints.
But I’m back, and with a vengeance (here’s hoping). Why now? Firstly this year I have more time. Both because the academic year is less structured, and because I am going to make time. I believe you can find the time to do anything you want,…if you really want to. My trick so far has been to get up 1 1/2 hours earlier each day (and that’s impressive for a student). A 6.30 alarm not only allows me to get more done in the day (I am a morning person), but also means that I’m satisfied that I’ve been productive before I’ve even left the house. I don’t paint in the mornings, but with less jobs to do, the evenings become ‘me time’.
Secondly, I’ve created an art space. This is really important for me, for my motivation and for my sanity (packing up and closing my art work every morning and evening is just too frustrating). Being a student, the only place that is truly our own is our bedroom, so student bedrooms have to be multi-functional.
Another cliché about student life: finances. My art space has been constructed from a bookshelf bought at a charity shop (shelves removed to allow it to be used more like a desk), with the shelves on each side for more workspace area. 8 medical text books hold it in place (you can see which part of my life has become a priority at the moment!).
I’m so excited to be able to be painting and creating again, and to be able to share my progress.
Sat down today for the first time in a long time to do some art. I only had a couple of hours, as I only ever seem to at the moment, long gone is the luxury of having all day dedicated to art. A little sketch of a hydrangea leaf.