Saturday, 25 July 2015

Kinky leaf

Catalpa bignonioides, Indian Bean,Botanical Art
Catalpa bignonioides, Indian Bean Tree Leaf - work in progress
My God, this is taking forever. I feel I might have bitten off more than I can chew with this piece of subject matter. My eyes are starting to gloss over a lot and the breaks aren't really helping so I am only managing a few hours everyday. Still that's better than nothing I suppose. I'd rather do that than to make a mistake. 

So as you might have seen, it's turned more yellow. It is a senescencing leaf after all and I realised I hadn't applied enough. I am generally yellow-phobic, it has to be said, so I often don't use enough in my paintings. Knowing this means I will always forcibly stop and ask myself - 'have you put on enough yellow Jess?' I think that this is important and that it is good to look at ones weaknesses and try and improve upon them.

When it comes to the entire composition, oddly, the top bit of the leaf (which looks tricky) was the easiest part to do, despite having all that detail, scratching and venation. The trickiest part for me so far has been the bottom of the leaf as we have colours (yellows and greens) bleeding into each other. It's a pain as I can't really work wet on wet on this paper in this heat, so I am trying to do it dry brush. I am finding it very tricky to bleed the colours into each other on such a scale. It was easier on the Pineapple because it was broken down into smaller rhomboidal shapes. 

Furthermore, there is more extreme tonal variation in this part of the leaf. For example, there is a kink on the right side. This will end up being very dark indeed, but the ridge of the kink will be almost white. I am enjoying the challenge, but it is tiring work. It is amazing how much brain power you use doing this kind of labour. 


4 comments:

  1. Now the silence is over.
    Hi Jess,
    I am not sure, but I think that I am following your blog since three or four years as a silent epicure.
    This is my first comment because I was allways to afraid to post one, because of my uncertain english.
    I am very glad to see your wonderfull artwork as work in progress.

    Jens T.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Jens! Your English is very good and I understand you. Thank you for following Inky Leaves with so much devotion, I am delighted that you find our posts interesting and enjoy watching my paintings develop. Do you paint?

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    2. Yes I paint, but rear…
      Hi Jess
      In my first occupation I was a horticulturist and I began drawing with pencil to understand botanical details for the determination.
      Now I´m a civil engineer in my regular occupation and at home we live on a farm with a big orchard and forestry (many work each day). So I laid away my pencils and sketch-pads for a long time.
      After I found my old sketch of „Arabid├│psis thali├ína“ in one of my determination-books I began again, but rare. I sketched many sectional drawings of our big apple- and pear-collection to provide my determination work each autum. (People often come to us to let determinate their apple varieties.)
      On a vist at Kew gardens when we went to London in 2013 let me discover botanical art.
      The exhibition Rory McEwen - The Colours Of Reality took me into another world. (especially a leaf of an oak)
      I now make my first attemps to use watercolor, but I see it is a long, long way.
      There is the wish to become better but there are only verry small steps.
      And so it will probably cost many years before I can try to paint our rare apple varieties in a nearly realistic way…
      J. T.

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    3. A wonderful story Jens! Delightful to read about your journey and that you have picked up the pencils and brushes once again. It is all about small steps, but you will be so surprised at how quickly things pick up. The development reminds me of punctuated evolution where not much improves over time and then suddenly one makes a bit leap in progress, only to plateaux again before another leap. Keep going, you might be near a 'leap'! Very pleased to hear that you visited the Rory McEwen exhibition at Kew when it was on show. Such an amazing collection of art work, it really did blow my mind.

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