At last! I have finished my painting of Cullen discolor! It has taken me a while. In fact I wrote a post about starting the painting in December 2012. 😦 To be fair to me, I have painted lots of other works in that time.
C. discolor is a prostrate plant. My painting is of a spray arching across the page.
You can see from the photo that I painted the leaves first. Once I was in the groove of leaf painting it made sense to continue. I was familiar with the paint to use and the technique for painting.
Then I had to work on the flower spikes. They were quite tricky because although they are fluffy, each pod has a distinct shape. I tried for blurry and clear at the same time! The method I used was to paint in the dark areas between each pod. That helped to build up the shape.
Painting in the stems and the flower spikes unified the painting, and people were able to read it more easily.
This next photo gives more detail. It is at the growing end of the spray, where the new growth is very soft.
However, the painting as a whole wasn’t finished at this point. As a botanic artist I try to use my work to explain the plant that I am painting. While I hope I have shown the nature of the plant — the size, shape and texture of the leaves, how the leaf stems and flower spikes join the main stem, the arrangement of the leaves on the stem and so on — I know that C. discolor is an unfamiliar plant. I had to show more with my painting. As well, compositionally I needed to add to the work. The spray was just too spindly there on its own.
I decided to add a pencil drawing showing the profile of it growing in the ground. I had taken reference drawings in Menindee last year which I used to make a final drawing on tracing paper. I then used a light box to transfer the tracing to the good paper, under the painting.
Then there was the joy of gentle pencil drawing. So nice.
The painting has been put away. I will need to do some final tweaking on it in a few months, like a final edit on a manuscript. But for now I am happy, and ready to begin the next one in the series, Cullen pallidum.