Below my illustration, which took over 60 hours.
Seeing budding magnolia trees in front of my local library I always wanted to illustrate it in the moment when it is right before blooming. The branches have such interesting textures, and the buds are all protected within the fuzzy, hard layer of outer husks. It is amazing watching these buds seemingly dormant swell up over a course of few months and then overnight burst open into fluttering pink and white flowers resembling giant butterflies. The intricate structures of the stigma and stamens of the magnolia develop hidden throughout the winter in its cocoon. When the tree is fully in bloom, it's as if thousands of small creatures landed on the tree, moving its wings with the wind.
Below my illustration, which took over 60 hours.
For my first assignment (Society of Botanical Artist Diploma in Botanical Illustration) I had to create a value graph, pen and ink stippled illustration, clean line drawing in pencil and a small toned illustration. I chose a viola for the pen and ink (I found a plant at a local nursery), tulips for line drawing (I bought a container of tulips that were just starting to bloom) and bark of a shore pine (I found on a coastal walk) for my tonal drawing. I spent many hours between all these assignments, as I was working very slowly and meticulously. It was a perfect assignment for winter. The biggest challenge was the tonal drawing of the pine bark as I had to include an overlay of tracing paper and indicate where I used all ten values. Believe me, finding 10 tones was nearly impossible. Light grey and black were easy to distinguish but anything between tones 3, 4, 5 and 6 starting to look all alike. I spent close to 50 hours on these assignments not because it required 50 hours but I was just being cautious, slow and a perfectionist. I really enjoyed the shading of the bark the most. I received 9 (out of 10) for all three drawings and was very satisfied with feedback.
Last February I started a Botanical Illustration Diploma Course through Society of Botanical Artists in London. It is a 3 year correspondence course, that I have been admiring and reading about. It involves 15 different assignments, graded by different tutors, to be mailed to the UK. I have been inspired by my friend Janene who has finished the course and admiring her work, although I felt very intimidated by the quality of work produced by the students in the course. I have been taking various classes in botanical drawing and painting in the last 3 years through Oregon Botanical Artists and Pacific Northwest Botanical Artists groups. Living in a small area on the Oregon Coast, access to classes in limited. My husband gave me a final push, and said I should do it. The course was already underway when I submitted the photo of my work. I wasn't quite sure if I would be accepted, but applied anyway. When I heard back that I was accepted I was both excited and scared, knowing the amount of work it will take. Below is the Pomegranate from Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland that I submitted as part of the application.
Here are a couple images of my sketchbook I have completed this summer. I had a lot of fun sketching native plants in pen and ink, and then highlighting a section in color using a circular stencil. I also love experimenting with fonts, and using plants I am drawing to design letters and words. It's very enjoyable and creative process.
I had a wonderful time in Poland this summer, one of the highlights was hiking Tatra mountains. I have found several native orchids, and have learned that there are over 45 native orchids to Tatra's. I spent some time sketching, hiking and meeting interesting people on the trails. The views are spectacular, especially hiking along valley and streams.
Fungi are super captivating and intriguing. They can be delicious or poisonous, medicinal or deadly. It is amazing to learn the important role they play in forest ecology. They are unexpected treasures to be found in places you least expect them. The shapes, colors and textures are mesmerizing, I especially enjoy finding bright mushrooms like the coral below in a dark forested path.
Wow! Spring was fun and busy at the same time! I taught two classes at Barbey Center at the Maritime Museum - Natural Science Illustration and Butterflies and Botanicals. I participated in a group show Forest Flora at Tillamook Forest Center showing some of my drawings of native plants, I also taught two workshops there as part of the monthly celebration of wildflowers. I tried to find time to sketch blooming trilliums and treated myself to a class at Tryon Creek State Park taught by Janet Parker.
Hiking and sketching at Ecola state Park. Lots of amazing fungi and lichen!
Just finished teaching Art of Ethnobotany at Seaside High School. It was a very rewarding teaching experience! You can read about it here: http://www.dailyastorian.com/SS/news/20151210/seaside-class-explores-art-nature-native-plants
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