Second part of Andromeda polifolia – Bog Rosemary picture

Distanced celebrating of VE day in the front garden. Reminds me of Claude Monet, The Picnic.

I have to say first of all that we are so lucky when so many people are struggling with Covid19. We have room to move and we can get out at the same time as recognising we have to leave two metres between us and anyone we might meet. The idea is to prevent the spread of the virus as much as possible and save the NHS.

That gets me clearly to my next point as I am a sinner in relation to the NHS – I had to go to A&E after a walk whilst keeping fit a couple of days ago! We had a lovely long walk over heathland and I was looking for a spot where I knew  Vaccinium myrtillus – Bilberry grew. This is one of the plants I have been studying and preparing for my next RHS exhibit. All of a sudden, my knee gave a great ‘snap’ mid-stride. So now I am extra grateful to the NHS for their treatment and advice.

I am now not only having an enforced lockdown because of the virus, but also enforced rest with my leg up. I hope that the tear will mend soon so the powers that be can determine if more treatment is necessary.

This means that for a few days I won’t be able to respond to the call from my shed to paint!

So imagine, Friday was VE day – 75 years since the end of World War 2. We had afternoon tea with our immediate neighbours, distancing from each other in our front garden. I am now paying the price and sitting with legs up on the settee, with crutches at the ready. But, I am enjoying the peace and quiet to sit and write this blog.

My previous blog finished with the flower spike of my Andromeda polifolia botanical illustration completed. I didn’t tell you that at natural size the flower and leaves are quite small; the flower is ca. 8mm long and the leaves ca. 2cm long. In my painting the flower spike is done at three times its natural size so the detail of the plant can easily be seen and admired. I have planned to talk about how I did the scaling in the last blog about this plant.

The next two parts are the stages of painting the pedicel and receptacle. You can see that the ovary is most likely fertilised and swelling just slightly. Also there are still a couple of stamens hanging on for dear life. 

To the right a stamen is enlarged just a bit more. I was so intrigued seeing the horn-like appendages to the anther and it was incredible to think that all this was packed so beautifully into that tiny flower. The stamens were just over 2mm long and very colourful.

So the packaging; I carefully did a longitudinal dissection of the flower. See the previous blog to view the shape of the flowers. The petals are 5-lobed and fused so I needed to cut two and a half petals carefully away to show what was underneath. I then shaved back the single carpel so that you can see the ovary inside, leaving the style and stigma whole. Again I am including the dissection painting in two stages so that you can see how I have built up the colour.

It is hairy inside the flower and I used a little masking fluid after I had done the first layer. If I do this again I might put in the masking fluid on the white of the paper or not use masking and paint around it. The final result is fine, but I personally feel I could have done it better.

You can see how the enlargements follow on from each other. The flowers on the flower spike are the same enlargement as the pedicel and receptacle; that is equal to x 3. I then enlarged the stamen further to make the detail even clearer and this time you see it at x 10, the same size as the longitudinal dissection.

From these photos of my work it is impossible for you to work out the actual sizes on the painting, or even the actual size of the plant. I am trying to make a point here because many people still write a magnification on their artwork, then post it online or even print it. You might be reading this on your phone, tablet, laptop or desk top computer; All are different sizes, so if you give the magnification as I have done here, you have no way of knowing what the real size is. I will be showing how to do scaling in a later blog.

Finally, I want to mention paper – OLD Fabriano hot-pressed. I have both Fabriano extra white and 5. I have come to the realisation that I will not need all this paper to last out my years of painting and teaching. If anyone is interested and will be able to come and buy some (Bosham, West Sussex) after the restrictions are lifted, please get in touch with me.

 

 

 

 

Prep for RHS Botanical art exhibition 2014

Following on from my last exhibit in 2010 with the RHS, I am working up to another exhibit. The question is, will I get the required number of pictures done in time and will I be offered a place in the London exhibition?

Last time I painted a series of Magnolia x soulangeana pictures in watercolour. This time I am painting a series of Crab apple pictures in coloured pencil. Each of them will be a different crab apple.

I have done a certain amount of preparatory work. I have sketches of each of the apples and during the short flowering time last year I did sketches of each of this chosen plants in flower. I had my work cut out doing the sketches in time.

So far during the winter I have decided roughly what needs to be included in each picture and have started a couple of the series using the sketches I already have of the apples. I intend to keep people up to date with what I am doing.

I foresee the first significant problem arriving in April during the short blossom time as I have decided to do detailed drawings from dissections of each of the plant. Flowering lasts about two weeks!

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Follow my blog to see how the process develops.