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.
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.
Educator, artist, forager