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AnneLawsonArt Beckler's Botanical Bounty Botanic Art My art work

Painting my Cullen cinereum

Don’t we just love to see how creative projects are progressing? I have been following the progress Kate’s Cloth of Heaven, a beautiful quilt she is making as a special present. So, I thought you might like to follow the progress of my painting of Cullen cinereum.

Often I draw feathers, which I sell in my Etsy shop. I am also working on other, looser watercolour paintings. However my C. cinereum painting is a larger, more precise botanic art painting that I am painting for a special project.

I am one of a group of botanic artists who go to Menindee each year to collect plants that were first collected in the area by Dr Hermann Beckler, a member of the Burke and Wills Expedition of 1860. Our aim is to collect all 120 of his specimens and then do a painting of each of them. You can find out more about the Beckler’s Botanical Bounty Project on our website.

This October was the fifth time the Fella and I had journeyed up there. I was looking specifically for this plant, C. cinereum. Beckler collected four plants in the Cullen genus. I have collected and painted the other three, now it was time to search for this one. Below are my paintings of the first three.

I found it easily enough, on the dry bed of Lake Pamamaroo. So I collected my specimens [and yes, we have permits to do this] and set up my work space back in Menindee’s Civic Hall.

The first stage of painting is not any art work at all, but a lot of research. Accurate identification of the plant is crucial and that means working through the species key provided in reference books ~ what makes this plant Cullen cinereum and not C. discolor or one of the other species? What are the features of the genus? As well there are structural things to look at ~ how does the leaf join to the stem; are all the leaflets the same size? What is it’s habit and what identifying features do I need to include in the drawing?

Some artists move on to doing microscopic work and produce delightful drawings of the tiny parts of a plant. Unfortunately I am not very good at doing this. I do enlarged drawings of different sections, such as leaf joints and flower buds. Such drawings help me understand the plant and are a great reference.

Once I have a good understanding of the specimen before me, I begin a measured line drawing. Botanic art is done at size. Any enlargement, such as microscopic work, is indicated, for example x2, x10 and so on. Tracing paper is great for line drawings as you can rub out as often as you like and not destroy the paper.

This time I also managed to get a tonal drawing done. I laid another piece of tracing paper over the line drawing and shaded in the darker areas I could see on the specimen. Aside from colour matching, that’s all I have time to do up in Menindee. [You may remember the story of the little ladybird that hatched on the plant as I was drawing it.]

So, back home and it was time to transfer the line drawing to the good sheet of paper. I am using Fabriano watercolour paper, 300gsm. At this stage I had to consider the composition of the painting. I am fortunate that the specimen I used had a very nice shape to it. You can see the nice flow in the line drawing. It has a gentle curve that nestles into the corner of the paper and then the strong diagonal across the page. As well this composition shows the identifying feature of the habit ~ that it grows along the ground a little way and then becomes more upright.

To trace it I went over the drawing on the back of the tracing paper with pencil. After placing the tracing on the good paper I went over the whole drawing again to transfer the pencil on the back to the paper. Your really get to know the drawing well when you do it this way!

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The drawing traced onto the good paper with some of the washes on the leaves

The next step begins, laying down washes on the leaves, and the tonal drawing comes into its own. I have lots of photos, but they don’t guide me at this early stage. It would be too easy to get carried away and not leave the lighter sections.

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First washes on the leaves

This is where I am up to. Most of the leaves have their first wash. I have begun to add in some of the stems and flower stalks as I need to know whether they go in front or behind the leaves.

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Close up of an area, to show the stalks going in front and behind the leaves.
Close up of an area, to show the stalks going in front and behind the leaves.
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AnneLawsonArt My art work Uncategorized

A new project

In October a customer, Nikki, bought one of my feather drawings through Etsy. A little while later she approached me about an order for her new online store! And today I sent off the drawings…..How fantastic is that?!

I have created a series of ink feathers for exclusively for her; they will not be available on Etsy. I used a fountain pen and water soluble ink to draw them. Because the ink smudges with water I was able to make the downy part of the feather much softer and fluffier than I have been able to get with non-soluble ink pens.

[The purple stripes are sticky strips that allowed me to number them to allow Nikki to make a selection.]

Working with Nikki was the spur to changing my Etsy shop name.

The shop is Thirteen and Market. It is going to be opened in January, and I will certainly let you know when it does. But there is also Facebook and Instagram pages, where Nikki is showcasing items in the shop. I have to say, I thought my feather drawing looked very handsome in its gold frame on Facebook.

Interesting to see how one interaction, in this case on Etsy, can lead to something wider.

And speaking of interactions…..remember you can show us what is happening in your creative world by leaving a comment on my previous post In My Studio.

 

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AnneLawsonArt My art work

And the winner is……

Image and photo copyright: Anne Lawson
Image and photo copyright: Anne Lawson

Well, the feather drawing has a home to go to.

I wrote out your names and put them into the GoodLuck Bowl (aka the old ice cream container!). If you look closely you can see your piece of paper there….right there… next to the other folded piece of paper….

The GoodLuck Bowl
The GoodLuck Bowl

Then the Fella, who does a wonderful impression of a Barrel Girl 😀 pulled out the winning name

Anne Marie, from Denmark.

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A big thank you to everyone who left a comment. They were all very positive and heart warming, and told me that the name change was the right thing to do. This blogging world is an amazing place. A special mention to Meeks, who reblogged and Tweeted the post to give me more exposure. She is a fine author and her books are available on Amazon.

The sad news is that not everyone could win. 😦 The good news is that you can buy a similar feather in my Etsy shop. But if you don’t feel like going through Etsy, have a chat to me here or via annebags@optusnet.com.au and we can sort it out.

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anne4bags AnneLawsonArt My art work

A quick reminder about my feather giveaway

Just a quick reminder about my giveaway. If you leave a comment on the original post, which you can access here, you can be in the running to win a feather drawing of mine. This is what you could win.

Image and photo copyright: Anne Lawson
Image and photo copyright: Anne Lawson

A very big thank you to those of you who have commented. So many positives. I have loved reading them all, and am delighted to know that those of you who already have an art work of mine would like another!

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anne4bags AnneLawsonArt My art work

Feather drawing giveaway

It’s definitely time for a giveaway! Let me explain why….

There are things happening in my art world that has spurred me on to change the name of my Etsy shop. I am not ready yet to tell you what is happening, but I am excited. But I can tell you about the name change, and then let you know how you can have a chance to win my feather drawing.

When I left teaching I thought I would spend my time making art embellished handbags. So I set up my Etsy shop to sell the bags, and called myself anne4bags. I really wanted just plain annebags but there was a shop called that. While I was creating with material and beads and embroidery I was still going to botanic art classes, following my interest there. As time passed the shop morphed into my art work rather than bags, but the name stayed the same.

I have been pondering the change for a while, thinking about sold art works that were linked to the old name. I realised that it had to happen, that there are more reasons to change than to not. The biggest reason is that the name anne4bags does not reflect anything about the work that I currently do.

So, after doing a small amount research I decided to go simple. Let me introduce you to

AnneLawsonArt

[Etsy won’t let me put in spaces between the words and Facebook demands the spaces! Strange old world.]

It’s time to give the shop a little makeover, working on the photos, tweaking some older descriptions and checking out the tags. Other than that there is the same high quality, original art work available at very reasonable prices. Click here if you would like to have a look.

To celebrate the name change I have decided to have a feather drawing giveaway. This is the feather you will win

Image and photo copyright: Anne Lawson
Image and photo copyright: Anne Lawson

These feathers, created in ink, are very popular, and I enjoy drawing them. The rhythm of the parallel lines is quite soothing. This one is on Arches watercolour paper. This is a good quality, acid free paper. It is an A5 size, 15 x 21 cm or 5.8 x 8.2 inches and the drawing sits horizontally.

To have a chance of winning is very simple……leave a comment below, about anything you like. Just make sure that you leave it on this post by Sunday 15th November. I will write the names of the commenters on slips of paper and ask the Fella to draw one out. I am quite happy to send it anywhere in the world, so don’t be shy. 🙂