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Beckler's Botanical Bounty Botanic Art My art work Plants

Finishing the practice painting

I have been making a big effort to get my practice painting finished. Here is the next sequence of photos of my work. (If you want to catch up on what I have been doing, check here.)

The top leaf and inflorescence is finished, the bottom is waiting.
The top leaf and inflorescence are finished, the lower is waiting.
Finished leaf and inflorescence
Finished leaf and inflorescence
Both leaves are finished.
Both are finished.
Close up of the second leaf and inflorescence.
Close up of the second leaf and inflorescence.

My method is to use very small brush strokes to create the effect I am looking for. That means I need to use very fine brushes as well as a magnifying glass!

I often need the magnifying glass to help with the fine brush strokes.
I often need the magnifying glass to help with the fine brush strokes.

IMG_6810Whenever possible, botanical artists work from live specimens and often go to great lengths to keep the specimen fresh. Sometimes the specimen can be replaced by a freshly picked one. Those were not options for me, as Cullen discolor is a plant growing on the red sandy soils of western New South Wales, a couple of days’ drive from my house. I am relying on the photos I took of my specimen.

The iPad is invaluable. Not only is is portable, allowing me to have the photo close by my work, but also I can enlarge the photos to get that extra bit of detail. Got to love technology!

My iPad is invaluable as it makes my photos of the Cullen portable, and I am able to enlarge sections to get a clearer image.
My iPad is invaluable as it makes my photos of the Cullen portable, and I am able to enlarge sections to get a clearer image.

15 replies on “Finishing the practice painting”

Lovely to follow your progress Anne. Such a lot of work – the end result looks lovely!! Have you tried pressing or drying your specimens as well as using photographs as a reference?

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Thanks for the positive feedback! Part of what we do with the Beckler’s Botanical Bounty project is collect and then press specimens of the plant. Unfortunately pressings don’t give you the information you need for a good botanical painting. As you would know, you need the actual specimen to get the best 3D effect. They can give measurements though.

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I, too, love using my Galaxy tablet for photos, as well as the pinch and resize function. Very powerful tool and so much quicker than taking photos on a smaller screen that often, aren’t what you wanted but you can’t tell until they’re uploaded to a larger screen. So a tablet saves a lot of time too!

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Thanks for visiting my blog, and taking the time to comment. Does your Galaxy have a zoom function? I find it hard to get clear close-ups with the iPad. I usually upload from my camera.

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Hi Anne, I have just discovered your blog and am enjoying seeing and reading what you have to say! I was interested in the comments about the iPad as a tool for illustration. I am just starting a distance learning botanical illustration course (i’m in NZ and the course is from the UK). I have played around with a ( borrowed) iPad, and found the colour excellent and the closeups clear too. However I am debating whether to get an iPad or a Samsung galaxy as i have been recommended that one instead. Decisions, decisions! Interesting to hear what Lynette has to say.

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Lesley, I am so glad you found me — and took the time to comment! Botanical illustration online sounds wonderful, if rather daunting! Who is the course run through? And if I can help in any way, let me know (Not that I am putting myself up as any sort of expert!) With regard to the iPad or Samsung….I think which ever one you have there will be benefits and some limitations. As you say, decisions, decisions.

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Hi Anne, the course is with the Society of Botanical Artists (SBA) in England. It runs for 27 months with 15 assignments which are sent to UK for marking. I think I may have misled you in my initial comment, The iPad camera is only used as a magnification and research tool! The
actual work is traditional watercolour, although they have just added coloured pencils for those
who work in that medium. I had been looking for a course for a while, and liked what I saw on their website!

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I have known of others who have done that course, and have found it really rewarding, but challenging. Have fun with it. (Did you know that there was a botanic art group on Facebook?)

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Yes, Anne, I did know about the Facebook page – that’s how I found your name!! Although I have only just started the course, assignment 1 due to be posted tomorrow, I am really enjoying getting back into drawing again!

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