On sketching flowers

Date : 04/05/2019
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Sunday flowers 3 Clematis
Sunday flowers 3 Clematis
Sunday flowers 7 Small chrysanthemums
Sunday flowers 7 Small chrysanthemums
Sunday flowers 6 Mimosa
Sunday flowers 6 Mimosa

THE SUNDAY FLOWER SERIES

This year I do a botanical sketch project, called Sunday Flowers. Every weekend I make a quick watercolour sketch of a live flower.

I work on a very rough handmade paper from India, made of recycled cotton fibre. A bunch of large sheets have been cut into squares of 25×25 cm (10×10″) and are piled up on a shelf.

By the end of year there will be 52 and then we’ll see what I shall do with them! Fill a wall? Have an exhibition? Make a calender? Lots of options!

With a dark mix of indanthrene blue and sepia I do the quick drawing. I use Chinese brushes – a thin one for lining up delicate shapes and a bit larger one for twigs and such. Also for shading and adding some colour. Colour is often just leftovers from my palettes.

A sketch like this takes not more than ten to fifteen minutes, plus five more to add colour after the first drawing is dry. It is all about putting down an immediate impression.

One learns a lot about plants, plus trains the eye-to-hand skill, necessary for artwork. It is very enjoyable to do, I love it! 

Sunday flowers 11 Hellebore
Sunday flowers 11 Hellebore
Sunday flowers 12 Carnations
Sunday flowers 12 Carnations
Sunday flowers 16 Violet
Sunday flowers 16 Violet

I find it an excellent way to get to know different plant shapes, different species’ characteristic features. I try to be botanically true to the flower, thus using some time first just to explore it with my eyes.

How do the leaves attach to the stem? How do the veins display on the leaf surface? How are petals attached, how many? After studying, I just go along with the brush.

This quick rough study also allows me to catch the movement in the plant. All plants, all living things move, even if so slow we can’t see it. Plants dance! I try to see their specific gestures, coming from inside of them.

Here is a selection of my Sunday Flowers, so far. I post every Sunday on my Facebook profile and Instagram, so follow me there if you wish!

Sunday flowers 17 Marsh marigold
Sunday flowers 17 Marsh marigold
Sunday flowers 18 Horse chestnut, painted in Fabriano, Italy
Sunday flowers 18 Horse chestnut, painted in Fabriano, Italy
Sunday flowers 19 Wild cherry
Sunday flowers 19 Wild cherry

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