Tag Archives: Botanic Gardens

Grevillea 5 – Anatomy of the drawing Part 2

Grevillia 5

Grevillea 5 Finished painting

I have finished the drawing so here is the second installment of the Anatomy of the Drawing.

Background

I decided to do a dark background for this painting as the flowers where so light, and went for complimentary colours to make the painting zing.  As the main colour of the flowers are yellow I went for a muted purple background.  I never use just one colour and this background is made up of dark greys (darkest at the bottom prisma colour cool grey 90% up to 50%), a great colour called dark grape and dark purple.

Grevillia 5 8

Background of painting before solvent

The background under painting showed through too much for me so I used a solvent (orange zest) to dissolve the colours and give a more even tone and then went back over it again in pencil.  I don’t like to use solvent often as it takes away all the life of the pencil strokes, but occasionally when I want better coverage or am trying to fix a problem I find it very helpful.  Here is a picture that shows how the solvent changes the work.

Grevillia 5 Solvent on the background pencil

Grevillea 5 Solvent on the background pencil

Outline

My last step is to outline the picture.  I do this to really emphasis the forms and make the shapes and colours pop.  I also really like a good outline, always have, ever since art school which drove my lecturers crazy.  It gives my work a graphic, print quality that I enjoy.

Grevillia 5 Ink Outline

Grevillea 5 Ink Outline

I used to use fineliner pens, put the wax in the coloured pencil would clog them up very quickly and kill them.  So I am now using old-fashioned nib pens and my Sennelier Ink.  This is sooo much better and I love to use these lovely pens, such a link to the past and the lines are much more alive.

So there my friends you have it.  This is my process in making my art, I hope you enjoyed your second instalment and others are also inspired to share their processes , it is so interesting and informative to see how others work.

Karen

 

Grevillea 5 – Anatomy of the drawing Part 1

Grevillia 5

Grevillia 5

This is the current drawing that I am working on, and as I always find it fascinating to see how others go about constructing their paintings I thought I would show you how I work.

The Photograph

Australian Garden

Grevillea Australian Garden Nov 2011

Most of the time I work off photos that I have taken.  I am not a good photographer and a lot of my photos are taken with the iPhone, but as I am not a botanically correct artist, I don’t require the level of detail that they do.  I am looking for interesting shapes and colours.  I will take a lot of photos of the flower and then play around cropping it until I get a composition I like.  Some times I will join together a couple of bits to get what I want and other times it works in the photo like this one did.

Cropped photo

Cropped photo

The Sketch

I then do a rough sketch on thin paper and get an idea of the shapes and composition of the painting. I like to take particular care on the shapes and the curves of the plants so that painting will have lyrical lines and the shapes are pleasing and give the feeling of the flower that I want to convey.  I also like to show people parts of the flower that they might not take the time to see.

Sketch Ready to transfer to good paper

Rough Sketch

Transferring the Image and Inking up

Once I am happy with the image I will transfer it onto my thicker good quality rag paper.  I like to use heavy paper around 300gsm.  Mostly because I enjoy the feel of this heavier paper and because it handles the paint and doesn’t buckle.  I use the highly technical method of holding the two pieces of paper up onto the window and tracing the back image onto the front.  Once the image is transferred and touched up I usually ink it.  I find if I leave the HB pencil lines they often bleed into the paint and colour pencil work, dulling and changing the colours.

Inking in outline

Inking in outline

Under Painting

I like to under paint my colour pencil work, it gives it more intensity and makes the pencil work quicker, which is helpful in the size of work that I undertake.  Most of my paintings are either A1 or A2 size.  It also gives me a chance to check on the colours to see if they are working and if the overall composition is ok, before I embark on the colour pencil shading.

Under Painting

Under Painting

Shading with Colour Pencils

Now the part I like best, but also the most time-consuming part, shading with the coloured pencils.  I really enjoy taking these flat objects and making them into living moving flowers, bringing out the lovely shapes and colour, it is a little bit of magic.

But this is where I am up to at the present so you will have to wait until I finish before I can show you the last step and how this painting will turn out.

Karen

Grevillia 4

Grevillea 4

Grevillea 4

A few weeks ago I went to the Australian Garden, which is part of the  Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, located in Cranbourne, a recently established garden which features Australian Native Plants.  It was really beautiful with great ideas on how to use Australian Natives in the garden.  While still a very young garden it was well worth seeing.

Lily Pad Bridge

Lily Pad Bridge

Display Garden

Display Garden

Needless to say I took a lot of photos of all the gorgeous flowers, and have a great store of images I want to paint.  You will see some in the coming weeks/months.

For my first image I choose another Grevillea. I really love the composition of this image, the colour of the leaves and the bizarre shapes of the Grevillea flowers still intrigue me.  This is another A2 size painting, I do love working at this size.

Karen

Viburnum

Viburnum

We have a very beautiful Botanic Garden in Melbourne, which I love to visit.  It is always full of people enjoying themselves, picnicking, strolling around, dining in the cafes and even admiring the plants.  I try to go there at least once every season, it is such a peaceful place and such a variety of people there.

On my last visit in October many of the spring flowers were in full bloom, including this Viburnum Tree.  I love these trees when they are in bloom.  The way the white flowers sit on top of the branches with the leaves hanging down under them.  The contrast of the snowing white and the bright spring green leaves.  They always look fresh and vibrant, so much of what spring is about.

I have done this drawing on some paper I bought in Byron Bay, it is a lovely soft cream rag, but I can’t remember what it is called.  I will have to take it to my local paper supplier and see if they know what it is.   I like the way the white flowers stand out against this off-white background.   This is a fairly large drawing about A2 in size.

It is my usual coloured pencil over acrylic, but I have bought myself a dip ink pen and it has given me much better lines then the fineliner pens I have been using.  The variety in the width of the lines gives more movement and life to the outlines which I am so much more happy with.  It also does not have any troubles going over the coloured pencil, I used to block up my fineliner pens and have a great deal of trouble getting them to work.  I also love the tradition and romance of this old world pen.  Such a lovely thing to use.

Karen