Monday, 31 December 2012

A New Year....same painting! Calla lilies

Last post of the year! sorry still not posted my ink tutorial! It's still in draft form and will follow shortly....promise! Have been busy finishing off a few pieces and also have a new commission... painting seahorses...a very nice job!
Here's my most recent finished painting of a Calla, with a similar reverse image painting beneath it...... I couldn't decide whether it should lean left or right as a composition so trying both. I get very hung up on left and right preferences for images, probably because I'm left handed, and, ever since an RHS judge made a big deal about it! I figured there has to be more to it this left right thing than the obvious lighting issues. I  always tend to lean compositions in the the same direction and think people maybe have a preference for what 'looks comfortable' based on thir handedness? well that's my theory... so I've started painting works a few times over angling the subject in different directions to see what looks best..... maybe I should get out more!  The second image is still a work in progress, it's also on different paper there are  probably 101 reasons to repaint the same work over and over and still never be satisfied. Look at poor old Giorgio Morandi, not that I compare myself in any way of course! but that guy spent a lifetime painting the same objects over in slightly different arrangements!

Reverse composition of same painting ( bottom image unfinished) but which one looks right?

 Lots up ahead at this time of year, hope to get my head into some serious work in the New Year without any dramas to interrupt! Aiming to submit something for Society of Botanical Artists annual show, which is titled, The Language of Flowers, at Westminster  Halls 12-21 April. Seems fitting to do something revisiting the reproductive mechanisms in flowers for that one.... yes more repetition.... but still undecided. I did a series of works on reproductive mechanisms before for RHS inspired by Arthur Harry Church.
Reproductive mechanism in Digitalis purpurea  ( on vellum) exhibited at 2006 RHS exhibition, NEC Birmingham

  Will also be exhibiting again with the RHS at Malvern Spring Gardening Show  May 9-12.  Also focusing on reproductive mechanisms for this one, on vellum this time.

....better get on with it... more next year!


Saturday, 8 December 2012

More on Drawing - Graphite tonal drawing of a red rose

Final tonal drawing of a decaying rose

In the last post I discussed my initial approach to creating a line drawing of a rose by observing the structure of the flower. This time I'm going to create a tonal drawing of the same rose. The rose has changed a good bit and is dying but this makes a more interesting drawing because the veins and creases are more pronounced. As the rose changes with age, the petals open out and the colours start to fade from reds to purples and blues. This is something that happens in many red and pink flowers and is due to the presence of anthocyanins, which are pigments present in cell vacuoles which cause the colour to change with differing pH levels. But enough about that because we're not dealing with colour here! Colour comes later and it's important to master tone before even attempting colour....So I'll start from the line drawing stage.

Quick photo of the rose for reference. Take plenty of photos from different angles to keep as reference but work predominantly from life.
The first stage is to make a preparatory drawings in the same way as detailed in the previous post. Once you are happy with the layout and preparatory drawings, transfer your outline drawing onto your paper for the final piece. I use an H grade pencil ( Faber Castell 9000 series) for this type of line drawing. The paper I'm using is Langton extra smooth HP 140lbs as I prefer HP watercolour paper for my drawing, but any good quality smooth paper will do. The line should be very clean and preferably drawn without hesitation, i.e. drawn with continuous line technique, that means without repeatedly lifting the pencil from the paper when drawing each individual petal outline. This will reduce any fuzzy /ragged edges and the need to erase. If it's easier to do so, because maybe you don't feel so confident about drawing continuous lines, you can trace your preparatory drawing onto the final paper. See figure 1 below.

Figure 1. (left) Initial line drawing, difficult to photograph this because it' very light!  Figure 2. (right)  Introducing tone. Tone is added to the entire drawing using an H grade pencil, taking careful note of the light direction, which in this case comes from the right hand side. Only the brightest areas are left white. I then start to introduce softer grades and you can see on the left side of the drawing I have started to introduce a darker tone using and F grade pencil.                                 
 Once the line drawing is complete I start to introduce tone, which is simply the effect of light and shade on the subject. One of the most common errors in tonal drawing occurs when too much white of the paper is left showing. If you look at your subject and hold it against the white of your paper you will see just how dark the subject is, if fact in a subject like this there is virtually no white left showing, other than the very brightest highlights and a couple of white markings. It is worth lighting the subject with a lamp to ensure that the light direction is clear and constant, sometimes working in daylight creates too much variation in light as it changes by the hour etc.  I work with a lamp on the right hand side of my subject because I'm left handed. This avoids working in my own light. 

I start by using an H pencil for my initial layer and pretty much cover the entire flower ( see figure 2 )
 I gradually build up tone by using increasingly softer pencils,  usually up to a 6 to 8B for a dark subject like this one. I use the continuous tone method for shading in all tonal drawings. Continuous tone is simple a method of creating a smooth even finish and it is generally used in botanical graphite work. Work in small elliptical movements or contour lines with the pencil as but do not apply any pressure from the wrist - the movement should come from arm. To go darker move to softer grades of pencil rather than applying pressure. Sometimes the softer grains of pencil create a look that is too 'grainy' you can smooth this by lightly going over the subject with a harder pencil, such as an HB grade.

To gauge how dark to go, you will find it useful to create a tonal strip with your chosen pencils, this will help you to decide on which pencils to use. When creating a tonal strip always use the same brand of pencils as grades vary between brands. Draw a series of small squares approx  1.5  x 1. 5cm for each pencil to be used and fill each square using the continuous tone method of shading.

An example of a tonal strip, showing the difference in grades of pencil from the left 2H, H, F, HB, B, 2B, 3B and 4B

For most drawings I generally use pencils starting at 2H ( the hardest) and up to 8B ( the softest). Fill each square by using the continuous tone technique an create a smooth even square. This exercise will show you the tone that can be achieved with each grade of  pencil and you can use it as reference for future drawings. remember if you need to go darker don't try to apply more pressure with the same pencil but instead move to a softer grade. This way you will avoid 'digging ' into the paper or creating a 'shiny' appearance from overworking.

Remember that most subjects that you draw can be broken down into simple shapes ( as discussed in the previous post)  so you will also find it useful to draw simple shapes such as spheres, cylinders, funnels and disc/ bowl shapes, then shade them with pencil to give a 2 dimensional object a 3 dimensional look by observing how the light falls on the pbject. The way the light falls on the object determines the various tones, for example, the sphere below:

Where light falls on a spherical subject from the top right hand side, a highlight is present, the object blocks the light as we move to the left, and so the left side of the sphere is in the shade. The midtones are present where the transition takes place between light and shadow. Also where a subject sits on or near a bright surface it is also possible that there will be some reflected light on the shade side ( see bottom left). This is a simplification of how light falls on a subject and it's worth spending time experimenting with lighting and observing the subtle differences that occur in light and shade. reflected light can be complex on a subject with many petals and twists and turns so always keep in mind that we're talking about basic principles in the broadest sense when looking at simple shapes.
 Note: Although it's not generally accepted in botanical art to include cast shadow there would also be a cast shadow beneath the sphere on the left hand side, if the sphere was sitting on a flat surface. 

Getting back to the rose, it's really just a case of building up the tone from now on, but always keep in mind the shape and effect of light and shade, for example the centre of the rose is fairly spherical and so the same principles of light and shade used in the sphere broadly apply to the rose. The intensity of the highlight also depends on the surface in question, for example a waxy type of flower, such as an orchid may have a very shiny surface therefore the highlights are more pronounced, whereas the rose has a more matte, velvety surface so highlights are more subtle.

Various stages showing the build up of tone using increasingly softer grades of pencil. 

The final drawing is not significantly different from the last one but I've added a bit more definition to emphasize the creases and veins in the petals and intensified the shadow and cast shadows. If you find the softer grades of pencil too grainy, you can go over the drawing again with a harder pencil - this will smooth out the grainy look. I could probably do a little more but I usually put work away for a week or so and then take a fresh look at it to decide if anymore work is required. 

 Finally a few of my tips:

Practise regular drawing! and don't spend too much of your time reading 'how to'  because only by 'doing it' will you improve your skills of observation and therefore your drawing skills and technique.

Always try to work from live specimens rather than photographs, photographs can be used to supplement your work but it's most important to work from life because you will not be able to understand form from a photograph.

Finish it, don't keep skipping from one thing to another, persevere and learn! the best learning comes from mistakes.

Develop your own style and approach and don't too get bogged down by looking at the work of others.  While researching the work of others is good and experimenting with different styles is important -  it's easy to be distracted by too many different styles. So try to find your own style and be comfortable with it, rather than wishing that your work was like someone elses. 
Don't take instruction to literally - there are lots of books and blogs ( like mine ). Each will have slightly different approaches, while some aspects, such as perspective and colour theory are essentials and standard, others are open to interpretation and personal don't take it too literally!

NEXT TIME: A tonal study in ink. Same principle as the graphite but painted using black ink.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

A Bit About Drawing 1.

I originally started this blog as a record of my progress whilst studying for a Diploma in Botanical Art with the SBA. I've been wondering where to take it and have decided that it's probably a good time to start introducing some simple instructional type posts to supplement my teaching.... and learning.

So here's a start  -
A Bit About Drawing. No 1  

Drawing from direct observation of an object, also known as objective drawing, is a core skill for any botanical artist, it underpins an accurate representation of any plant and should be practised regularly.
The way that we choose to represent an object through drawing can differ enormously between individuals, so the same object can be represented in a number of different ways. For example If you place an  object on a table and ask a group of people to draw the same object, each drawing produced will be quite different..... in the position of the object, weight of line, tone, shading technique etc. I'm giving you a glimpse into my method but it's important to find what is right for you, however some basic rules will be common to most people. 

To be able to represent a 3 dimensional object by line alone is the most basic type of drawing yet it is often most challenging and lays bare any technical errors. Being able to draw an object well requires good observation and technical ability but making a aesthetically pleasing drawing requires a greater knowledge. There are no shortcuts or magic formula's when it comes to's hard work at times! Basic observational line drawings can be stand alone works or used as preparation or the first stage of a more detailed tonal drawings or paintings ( see beetroot drawing below)  or even used as starting point for more creative works.
Leaf detail from the drawing below
Beetroot from 2010

My own finished botanical drawings might be seen as very precise and technical, most are detailed tonal drawings and I will discuss the techniques that I use at various stages, from the planning, sketches, line drawing and shading techniques to develop a 3 dimensional form. I'm a firm believer that it necessary to develop a very clean technique with continuous lines in order to create accurate clean botanical drawings. Having said that it does no harm to draw in a more loose style in preparatory work and I would always recommend that botanical artist try other approaches and subjects to prevent stagnation and too rigid a style in their work.
A centaurea flower study x 2.5. Drawing is all about order and process. It requires a bit of discipline. Observation, clean lines and the corract range of tones from light to dark.

I always start by taking some time to observe the subject by moving it around to examine from different viewpoints and to understand the shape.
Most importantly you have to learn to draw what your eye can actually see and ignore what you brain tries to tell you about what you 'know' about an object  or 'think' you can see, you brain will try to fool you into making assumptions!
Some people are better than others at breaking things down visually and see a clearer picture from the outset, whereas others have to work harder to get there. Drawing what you actually see is hard and it takes practise to over-ride the assumptions made by the brain!

I find the best way forward is to adopt a systematic approach and start by breaking the subject down by size and shape; first by measuring and then by identifying the most simple of shapes within the subject - into squares, circles, ovals or triangles etc. My initial sketches tend to be fairly rough and I try to determine the shape or form of the object by making rough sketches - this allows me to see the 'whole' rather than the detail, which is an important starting point in any drawing, and, in creating the composition (which I will discuss at a later date). I like to think of these initial drawings as the skeleton on which to build the work. If the skeleton isn't right the drawing wont work.

Sometimes it's tempting to just start drawing, this works for some people, however without measurement and planning it is likely that you will build basic errors into the work, these errors will be amplified as the complexity of the work increases.

This is how I like to teach the process, not to spoon feed the student though, that's no use. The idea isn't to show a person how to draw a cherry so they can only draw cherries! the idea here is to 'take away' the 'process' - so that you can work out how to do it for yourself.

Materials, Measuring and positioning 
Basic Kit
 I use HP watercolour paper for my drawings, usually Fabriano Artistico or Arches because I like the surface but any good quality drawing paper with a smooth surface will do, try to work on paper with a weight of around 140lb.  For sketches use any good quality sketch paper, such as Daler Rowney Heavyweight Paper 135lb.
Faber Castell 9000 series, range from 2H to 6B. Again any good quality drawing pencils.
Putty rubber.
A long ruler, approx 60cm.
Craft knife and fine sandpaper block.

Measuring and Positioning

Botanical subjects are usually drawn life size, so first of all I measure the total height and width of the plant specimen using a ruler.  I also measure all the relevant parts e.g. stem length and width, distance between leaf shoots, leaf length and width,  flower head width and height etc. take notes of these measurements in your sketch book.
1. Measure overall size height and width, and, all parts.
I then plot the outer boundary of the drawing. Measuring the outer boundary will help you to position the drawing evenly on the paper. For finished drawings I always try to leave a margin of at least 2.5 inches of white paper completely clear, to give the drawing space and to allow for mounting. White space is very important - a cramped drawing will not look good so planning is important. You can always cut down the final image but you can't add - so leave plenty of room.

For sketches it is also wise to work on decent sized paper to allow for notes and additional sketches.

If your subject is very tall you may want to cut the plant and rearrange to fit your paper. If you are unclear how to do this take a look at my painting of a foxglove. There are lots of examples if you look at old botanical works and herbals, field guides etc.

2. Mark the outer boundary of the preparatory drawing, I have positioned the rose at an angle and measured the height width of the rose at this angle to lightly mark the outermost boundary for positioning on the paper.

I want to position the rose at a slightly more forward facing angle and observe the overall shape of the flowerhead. Try to look for patterns and shapes within the flower and the arrangement of petals. The petals form a Fibonacchi spiral arrangement ( more about this later). 
3.  A rough drawing of the basic structure and shapes is made by drawing the basic shape of the rose head in a rectangle, using the width and height measurements of the flower head. I start to draw some the basic shape of the flower which comprises a series of petals that form 'cup' shapes inside each other and which decrease in size towards the centre of the bloom. There are 5 visable layers of these cups at this angle.  I also plot a centre line to ensure the centre of the flower remains in line with the stem. It's easy to get confused with a flower like a rose so breaking it down in this way helps you to keep contol of the petal arrangement. I use an H or HB pencil for this type of sketch but keep the lines very light so that they can easily be erased.

4. Adding the detail to the structure.  Petals are easily added to the structural sketch. Try to keep lines continuous so that they are smooth, This is achieved by keeping contact between pencil and paper on flowing lines such as those on the stem. Lifting the pencil creates a jerky line so try to avoid this approach. I now have a a basic drawing and in this case have drawn over it using a fine liner so that there is no confusion over which lines I want to keep ( Also so you can see it! ). When I have completed the remaining leaves I will trace the drawing onto my paper for the final piece, making small adjustments if I feel they are necessary. I usually work by tracing my sketches onto the final paper in this way because it keeps the final drawing very clean. However sometimes I keep working on the sketch and use it as a final piece by erasing all of my working lines. 

That's it for now -  a pretty rough and ready drawing! 
NEXT UP I'll transfer the image to complete a line drawing and start to add some tone.  


Friday, 2 November 2012

Society of Staffordshire Artists and the Pottery Industry

On October 9th I submitted 5 paintings to the Society of Staffordshire Artists adjudication panel for consideration for full membership and was delighted to receive a letter last week informing me that I had been successful.

Freesia watercolour. One of the paintings submitted to SSA for membership.
The SSA has been established for 80 years and has had some notable members and exhibitors since that time, including many that were also employees in the pottery industry. For me this is of interest because that's where I started out.  Past members include Minton's designer Reginald George Haggar RI,   Gordon Mitchell Forsyth RI , Leslie Gilbert RI and Arnold Machin RA, who is best known as the man who sculpted the relief portrait of the Queen used of the first decimal coins and on stamps, the portrait is said to be the most reproduced image ever printed! So I'm pretty pleased to be included.

I've seen many paintings of industrial scenes of the Potteries over the years but oddly enough I appear to be the only current flower painter in the Society and I don't see many in galleries either, which came as a surprise given the tradition of floral painting within the pottery industry. Both my mother and grandmother had worked as paintresses, and I worked as a design technician in the Royal Albert division of Royal Doulton in the 1980's. Having that background in the family meant that painting was always considered a completely 'normal' activity at home. I can recall my grandmother showing me how to paint the freehand floral designs of a Hollyhock pattern that she had painted at work when she was a young woman who worked at at E Brains China.

Sadly the Staffordshire Pottery industry has declined significantly in recent years,  largely due to the changing market, small producers were consumed by larger companies and much of the production was then outsourced to the middle east in the 1990's. It was no real surprise that the appeal of the product and emphasis on local skills was lost and along with it jobs.
Fortunately today there seems to be a glimmer of hope for the craftsmanship and bringing production back to the Potteries.
Funny how things come around as you get older,  I'd never really had much of an interest in the history of the pottery industry, in fact I couldn't wait to get away from Stoke and thought it the most grim of places when I left.

Monday, 10 September 2012

What to Paint?

It feels like an age since I studied the SBA diploma but during my studies I recall frequently complaining that there was nothing suitable to paint ...... of course that's absolute rubbish because there is always something to paint! For me it was just a mechanism to distract from getting on with the job in hand....and I'm still doing it!

With the exception of native plants which can pose numerous problems we really are very lucky with an abundance of available subjects to be found at the florists, garden centre, botanic gardens or even the supermarket and of course there are plenty of leaves, seeds, lichens and twigs to keep an artist going all winter.  Also being organised with work over the summer pays off in the long term because by collating good quality photographs and creating comprehensive sketch book studies enables works to be successfully finished off over winter.....well that's what I try to tell myself and what I try to do.
In an ideal world this all sounds very sensible and organised but in reality it's not quite so simple because it's not so much that there's a lack of things to paint but a lack of finding something inspiring to paint.  Added to this is the problem of ' what should I be painting' Sometimes I feel like I must paint the species and native plants to be a 'real' botanical artist but actually there's merit in painting just about anything you can get your hands on if it inspires don't need to feel guilty about it either (maybe that's just me!)

It's easy to become slightly bored with subject material and the technical challenges that botanical work poses can result in stagnation. I've had a bit of a shift in my work recently, although it's probably only noticable to me, and I have become more focused with movement, composition and the subtleties of warm and cool colours where light and shade is concerned. It's just another phase of the never ending learning curve and no doubt has a purpose that will all piece together in the long term. 
So with this in mind I'm painting some big 'blousy' flowers and pot plants ....just because I like them! ........ The most important thing is to keep painting and drawing.... it's the only way to learn!
Calla lily pot plants courtesey of the local supermarket. Note the odd double flower second from the left.
I painted this Calla lily on 300 lb Saunders Waterford HP paper. What an ordeal it was painting on a surface of something that can only be described as similar to the texture of sandpaper! won't be using that again. I was waiting for a delivery of  Fabriano Artistico, which is what I normally work on but decided to take a trip to the art shop and purchased a range of different papers to try, very interesting exercise with so much variation in colour and surface. Will post more later on my favourites and least favourites.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

A Fresh Start! first painting underway.

Relocating takes time and definitely distracts from getting on with painting! A couple of months ago I  moved after 23 years living in Aberdeenshire..... a painting is long overdue! Always in need of a bit of a goal to motivate,  I tracked down the Society of Staffordshire Artists and will be submitting 5 paintings to be considered for membership in October this year. This has given me the incentive I need to get painting again and is a great opportunity being originally from the area. The Society has been established for around 80 years and holds several exhibitions each year.....they have no botanical artists as members!   

Looking for inspiration I decided to raid mum's garden because I no longer have one, and, have reverted to working on the kitchen table.... no studio anymore either! It's easy to use the absence of these things as an excuse not to paint but having worked for years without such luxuries it's really not a valid reason to abstain. I don't have the lamps or the magnifiers and to be honest although these things help they are not particularly good for the eyes or essential. It will be interesting to see how the new work turns out under different conditions... but it's got to be good to be able to adapt to a different working environment because running demonstrations can prove difficult if you get too picky about your working conditions.

I found some lovely honeysuckle with beautiful bronze coloured leaves weaving it's way through the garden,  it seems like a good candidate to start with, so many colours in the flowers, leaves and fruit it's a bit of a gift to the botanical painter. I actually can't remember the last time I produced a 'proper' painting and seem to have been been producing small studies for around a year now. here we go with the first study page towards the new painting.

I have included as many different parts of the plant as possible, flower, bud, dissection, woody stem, fruit at different stages of development, I may add a few more bits and will probably complete a second study page but think it's time to start thinking about the composition. I don't make a lot of colour notes because I seem to find colour to be pretty instinctive and there are often several different ways of getting to the same place with colour mixing....although I could be way off the mark!  The light and shade is more tricky with warm and cool colours but I'll write more about this later because it deserves a separate post.  More difficult for me is the composition. I usually start with some rough sketches on tracing paper using just the basic shapes. I want to get the movement and 'feel' for the plants growth habit, these are the elements that have become increasingly important to me....too often botanical studies can look quite rigid and for plant like honeysuckle it's anything but rigid!  

Saturday, 12 May 2012

SBA Membership and RHS Malvern Paintings

It's been a busy few weeks! Exhibited at the Society of Botanical Artist annual exhibition at Westminster Halls 20-29th April. It was a succesful exhibition and sales were up considerably this year, so great news for the Society. Also collected my very large SBA membership diploma certificate at Westminster Halls on 2nd May - see the shocked expression at the thought of having to carry it around London for the day! fortunately they agreed to post it and I had a great afternoon indulging in the Lucian Freud Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery and at the National Gallery, where I took  the opportunity to scrutinise the select number of Dutch botanicals by Jan van Huysum and Rachel Ruysch. Also great to Titian's Flight into Egypt.
I'm currently exhibiting the leaf paintings at the Malvern Gardening Show as part of the RHS botanical Art display until Sunday 13th May, photos to follow. Was awarded an RHS silver medal for the leaves. Feels like I've been away for months! Next up: BISCOT, Botanical Images Scotia at the Gardening Scotland Show and Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh at the beginning of June...phew!

Collecting my SBA membership in London at the AGM. I think I already posted this .....but I'm still excited about it!
Below the 6 leaf paintings exhited at Malvern RHS, 2012 All on vellum. Awarded silver, not a strong enough theme apparently....oh well try again

Decaying lime 1

decaying lime 2


Red maple
Horse chestnut

Monday, 16 April 2012

Twelve months on from the SBA Diploma, Full Membership!

Since graduating in spring 2011 from the Society of Botanical Artists Diploma course,  I've not   really managed to get back into the swing of painting as well as I would have liked to, probably due to all the other distractions and disruptions in life and a bit of burn out!
However I did somehow manage to continue to produce work, most of which has been on vellum.  In February for this years SBA show at Westminster, 'Botanical Celebration'  I submitted another 5 and was fortunate enough to have all 5 paintings accepted for the third year running.  I didn't take the fast track membership because I had already started down the path and this was quicker for me.The exhibition starts next week on the 20th April. On the 12th March ( my birthday)  I received a letter from SBA informing me that I had been elected a full member of the SBA, which was just the news I needed to give me a good kick and get painting again!  I travel to London on the 2nd May to pick up my membership certificate/ Diploma.  It's not unusual for artists to suffer from these frustrating periods of nothingness and they usually coincide with the low points in life but they always pass.  
One of the 5 paintings exhibited at the SBA Show, 2012, Primula vulgaris, on vellum, sold at the opening along with two other pieces on vellum. It was highly commended for the Joyce Cumming award.

Very large membership certificate! See the 'now where am I going to put this!' expression!

Over the last few weeks I think (hope) some progress is being made and I've managed to produce several new leaf paintings on vellum. These paintings will be exhibited May 10 -13th at the Malvern Gardening Show as part of the RHS botanical exhibition. 

Here's work in progress on a decaying lime leaf painted on vellum which I collected from the grounds of Duff House in Banffshire.
Decaying Lime Leaf on vellum or Malvern RHS show
Decaying Lime Leaf 2 on vellum for Malvern RHS show

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Flower number 3, The Crocus

Very quick painting of a crocus, not sure I'm very happy with it - looks a bit stiff, so I may rework it to give it more movement and shine. Movement in a composition is something that I've become more concerned with recently - I think that in botanical  painting it can get overlooked because of the focus on  technical accuracy.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Saturday's flower, Hellebore

I think this hellebore is White Spotted Lady.  It's never flowered before this year, which is odd because all the others in the garden have failed to show. I'd just about given up on it but perhaps it liked the hard frost we had this year. Next up the crocus.

Friday, 24 February 2012

More flowers 30 Day Challenge

It's about time I uploaded some of the flowers from my 30 day flower challenge, so here we go with a Iris reticulata hybrid, I think it's  'Katharine Hodgkin', which is quite a pale version
Also I have lots of the regular dark blue I. reticulata in the garden too, which I painted it for my SBA Diploma portfolio ( image below)  That was over a year ago and it seems like a distant memory now. It's good to paint it again and this one has to be my favourite iris

I spent about  40 minutes on this one, it's not the greatest painting but has a nice delicate quality.

'Katherine Hodgkin' 40 minute watercolour study
Botanical Illustration of Iris reticulata from the SBA Diploma portfolio. I think I sold this one, can't remember where though. It's a very dark purple so plenty violet diox and soem Indanthrene blue too

Sunday, 8 January 2012

New Flower Challenge and an Etsy shop launched!

I didn't quite make the finish with the leaf challenge but it doesn't mean I can't try again! I did quite a lot some of which I was pleased with and others not so!
So thought I'd have another go but this time with flowers!  Maybe one week at a time so that it's not too overwhelming. Here's number 1. Tulip

A very pink tulip! Some Permanaenent rose and Quin magenta for this one. I tend to avoid the Opera rose, which is bright but transient, so can fade. I try to work only with ASTM rating I and II paints. ASTM is the standard for paint testing

 I've also created an Etsy shop to sell some of my smaller works and sketches produced as part of the challenges

It seems like a good way for an arist to sell more affordable art works, such as small originals, prints and cards. The only problem is that it's very large and difficult to find things and theres a good chance of buying more than I sell!