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Beckler's Botanical Bounty Botanic Art My art work Plants

Painting — Cullen discolor

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.

C. discolor, showing how it sprawls along the ground  (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2011)
C. discolor, showing how it sprawls along the ground (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2011)
My work in progress. (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)
My work in progress. (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)

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.

The finished spray (Photo and image copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)
The finished spray (Photo and image copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)

This next photo gives more detail. It is at the growing end of the spray, where the new growth is very soft.

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)

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.

Using the light box to transfer the drawing to the good paper. (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)
Using the light box to transfer the drawing to the good paper. (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)
Outline on the good paper. (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)
Outline on the good paper. (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)

Then there was the joy of gentle pencil drawing. So nice.

Pencil drawing of C. discolor. (Photo and image copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)
Pencil drawing of C. discolor. (Photo and image copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)

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.

(Photo and image copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)
(Photo and image copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)

 

 

12 replies on “Painting — Cullen discolor”

Anne it looks great and the description of how you proceeded with this is really interesting to me as a non artist. Well done you are so talented.

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Thank you for the comment. It is hard to know how much detail to put in. There is a fine line writing to make it interesting for people who don’t paint. Too much detail can be boring, but not enough can be obscure. I am glad I walked that line for you Denise. 🙂

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Your process is exactly like writing, only the medium is different. I feel as if I’ve had a mini epiphany. 🙂 And it goes without saying that both the painting and the drawing are beautiful. Great pics too.

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Hei Anne, what a hugely difficult subject. It’s very nature makes it so difficult to develop a meaningful composition. But, with the graphite drawing in addition, you have managed it. And you can see that you enjoyed this bit. Painting fluffy leaves or buds is an additional challenge and one always wants to put in mor colour than needed, rather than using a dry brush technique over a gentle tonal form. I love the new growth where you have got the fluffy texture of the new shoots. I wish I could see it in real life. But I’m as far away from you as you are to me. One day……

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[…] Four paintings are all in the same genus, Cullen. There are more plants in the genus, but these four are common to the area, depending on the season, and were collected by Beckler. I have written about the genus here. My ability to paint Cullens developed as I went along. So, if I had time I would repaint the first, Cullen discolor. However, it belongs in the set. You might like to have a closer look at the painting in this post. […]

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