Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Botanical Illustration

Tulipa species - a painting in progress

Today I am going to be painting, but here is a snap shot of the piece as I did do some work on it last week and didn't post anything. I am working from photographs a lot at the moment and I am desperate to do some painting from life*.  I'm starting to think about a painting holiday for after Christmas, it'll consist of a week off work and lots of sitting in Kew's glasshouses. There doesn't seem to be much growing out of my window at the moment so I will have to go under glass. However, there are things growing on my window sill! Cindy and Phil both have flower heads on them! I am so pleased with myself - I see this as a huge achievement as my dad can never get his orchids to flower. Sadly, Milly passed away this month after battling with baggy leaves for 10 months. I think the climate just wasn't right for her in my room.
 Phil (left) and Cindy's (right) flower buds

*In the winter I do work mainly from photographs and herbarium material. In the summer I work more from real life and use photographs towards the end of the piece to check my shadows. If I worked full time as an illustrator I'd definitely paint directly from the subject a lot more, but with a full time job I find I have to squeeze in bits of painting here and there and the process is more drawn out, by which time a lot of subject material would have gone 'over'.  This is one of the reasons why I at first tended to depict leaves and seeds more than flowers and fruit, but since completing the SBA course I have started exploring new subject matter. It's also why I used to work predominately in ink more than paint, again - something else which has changed since I completed my SBA course.


  1. Jess - that tulip flower is extraordinary. Seriously good. It is so vibrant and real - luminous.
    Wonderful to take a painting holiday ... I would love to work in the glasshouses at Kew - I saw a documentary on them recently.
    Hope you are well and happy Jess xxx

    1. Thanks Vicki. Yes the idea just hit me while I was writing the blog post that I could do that for a holiday. I was thinking how I could go somewhere with a tropical climate on the cheap and realised that Kew has it's very own under glass! I am ok - baring up.

  2. Hi Jess, I'm loving the tulip and congratulations on your inclusion in the Linnean society (and getting the orchids to reflower!).
    I'm hoping to visit Kew next year(haven't been since I was very young)but I'll have to fit it in around the job. A painting hol in Kew sounds so great, you must do it! xxx

    1. Thanks Claire for all my congrats! Yes chuffed to bits about the Linnean Society - hopefully my official signing thing will happen on the 3rd. If you do come to Kew next year do drop me a line, it'll be fab to see you.