Thursday, 16 April 2015

Gossypium herbaceum

I am currently sat in my bedroom with the shutters down again. I'm listening to 90s trance after playing catch up on Radio 4. Never been a fan of Radio 4 if I am honest... too much talking - I find it difficult to listen to the conversation properly whilst painting. I have, however, become completely entranced with 'A Brief History of Ideas' this week, as they discuss what an IDENTITY is. Mum heard it first whilst working in her pottery and thought - 'gee whizz, Jess would like this' and sure enough I did. It's precisely the sort of thing I want to be listening too whilst working on my portraits. I recommend all the programmes.

Cotton (Gossypium herbaceum)
Cotton (Gossypium herbaceum) - a work in progress. Watercolour 21 x 29.7cm
So I am in my room becuase I am working on small things. A commission for a clothing magazine. There is a funny story that comes with this, as when I was in Granada with my cousin Poppy a few days ago we came across a cotton shop that had sprigs of a cotton plant in the window. I pointed it out to her and said 'THAT Poppy, you see it? THAT thing there! That is my WORST nightmare'. She looked at me perplexed. Realising that she didn't understand I said: 'Well, its white and its fluffy. You try and depict that in watercolour. The flowers are even worse as they are usually white or yellow'. She then nodded her head in agreement that the cotton plant is indeed a botanical artist's arch enemy.

Cotton in the shop window in Granada, my only source material out here!
Twenty four hours pass and the phone rings... it's a commission that I hoped would come in. Whoppeee! 'Oh no... what's that you say? Cotton?! You want me to paint cotton?!'. And so there you have it, the power of intuition.  This is a quick job, I have a fortnight to do it in before print, so I have had to get cracking, using images I have collected from my time in London. Not the way I really like to paint, but it's a fascinating project which I just so happen to be enjoying. I take it all back - cotton is actually really rather cosmic and very enjoyable to paint.  They have the most amazing, severely serrated bracts that contrast the soft fluffiness of the cotton bolls. 

So here are just a few of the paintings I have started over the past two days. Lets hope the company like them. They are all still very much works in progress, but you get the idea.

Cotton (Gossypium herbaceum)
Cotton buds (Gossypium herbaceum) - a work in progress. Watercolour 21 x 29.7cm

Cotton flower and seeds (Gossypium herbaceum)
Cotton flower and seeds (Gossypium herbaceum) - a work in progress.

Cotton (Gossypium herbaceum) - a work in progress.

Close up on developing cotton bud
Close up on developing cotton bud (Gossypium herbaceum)

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