I spent 5 days in St. Louis, Missouri at a American Society of Botanical Artists conference. I had an opportunity to meet other botanical artists and botanical scientists, listen to great presentations and watch demonstrations on various techniques. I really enjoyed visiting the Art Museum with quite a collection, spending a day at the oldest botanical garden and be part of Confluence exhibit of botanical artwork. I came away inspired to spend more time in nature and to create more nature oriented art. I have been thinking more about innovative approaches and art that is socially and environmentally meaningful. For this conference I created a magnolia drawing, a bit of a departure from native plants (my usual subject) but I have been wanting to represent this magnolia, which is based on a tree that grows next to my local library. Needless to say I love both: the particular tree and the library, and this drawing reminds me of both.
For my 6th assignment which had to be fruit I chose Pomegranate. This assignment is part of my Diploma in Botanical Illustration Program through Society of Botanical Artists in London. I chose Pomegranate as I always loved the fruit and have been attracted to its color. I thought its round shape and seeds would provide enough variety to create an interesting composition. This was probably the most challenging assignment so far, as I didn't realize how hard drawing the seeds would be. Half way through I wanted to change the subject, but was worried I didn't have enough time to start over. I stuck with it and ended up enjoying the challenge. Overall it was well received, and the tutor suggested I should have added a few seeds to the composition, which I agree. I received 9.6/10.
Last weekend I spent two days at Tualatin Wildlife Refuge with Oregon Botanical Artists taking a nature journaling workshop with Pat Burrell Standley from Missouri. It was wonderful sketching in the refuge among young and old oak trees, observing wildlife, walking, basking in the sun and visiting with friends from OBA. I tried a new journaling technique of recording sounds in forms of color marks or lines on paper and it was an interesting experience that helped me experience being in the moment. Below a page from my sketchbook completed over the weekend. Weird globs (top left) are "apple" gals formed by wasps!
I really enjoyed teaching Forest Fragments at Sitka Center for Arts and Ecology in August. Met a wonderful group of women and had a great time spending drawing, teaching and a bit of walking the beach.
For my fifth assignment (single flower arrangement) I chose zinnias as they are such a lovely and sturdy late summer flower. Hot pink petals were a fun change from all the earthy tones I have been using lately. The center was quite a challenge as it is a composite flower, and I had to use magnifying lens to observe the detail. The creamy tones on back side of the petals provided a nice contrast. The unopened buds provide a bit of a flower cycle. I received 9.6/10.
This was my 4th assignment for the Diploma in Botanical Illustration from Society of Botanical Artists in London. I spent 7 weeks sketching, photographing and drawing this selection of native flowers of the Pacific Northwest. From the top left: yellow stream violet, thimbleberry, oxalis, Pacific bleeding heart, chocolate lily, mountain larkspur, Nootka rose, Skunk Cabbage, Douglas iris and Indian Paintbrush. Yellow stream violet, thimbleberry, oxalis, Pacific bleeding heart and Skunk cabbage came from my yard. Others I sketched and photographed at Saddle Mountain, Oregon. The placement of all flowers was challenging as well as incorporating a variety of colors, while maintaining harmony. I received 9.6/10 for this assignment. Yay! Onto the next assignment!
I am honored to be part of two shows featuring native plants of Pacific Northwest. I am taking part in 3 person show titled Into the Woods at Cannon Beach Gallery along with Jen Kapnek and John Smither. I have art featuring many native fungi, lichen and other plants. The show will be on display till end of May. Also I am also taking part in Native Plant Botanical Art exhibit in Salem with Oregon Botanical Artists, at Eco Hub in Willamette Heritage Center, which will be on display till mid August.
For my 3rd assignment for the Diploma in Botanical Illustration through Society of Botanical Artists in London I picked native leaves of the Pacific Northwest. You can find below False lily of the valley, Rattlesnake plantain (native orchid), Oregon grape, Douglas Iris, Big leaf Maple, Licorice fern, Corydalis and Vanilla Leaf. It was a great experience looking at the diversity of forms and colors in our native plants. Learning about leaves really helps with identifying plants before they bloom. I tried creating a composition that flows and has a movement. My favorite leaf is probably the emerald green heart shaped False lily of the valley. Last year, I dug up a lot of these plants from a site that was being logged and transplanted them in my yard, it was mid summer and I didn't think they would make it. This spring I am thrilled to see that they are emerging in abundance! Love seeing these little hearts scattered on the forest floor.
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.
Educator, artist, forager