Cockspur Coral Tree Sketches

We are on serious countdown now, 12 days to go before we leave, 8 days before the boxes have to go and I have been reluctantly throwing away much that I have collected over almost three years.
So the nature table is no more.  All my beloved pods and seeds and bits of twigs, bugs, fungi, dried leaves are gone.
A few things are lingering, things which I can’t quite say goodbye to yet,  the potter wasp nest, some red seeds, a large bug and a little lizard skeleton.
I have also been wistfully looking through my photos and remembered my  very first day at the Leu Gardens. I had taken a picture of the Cockspur Coral Tree Erythrina crista-galli in the Arid Garden.

I had not drawn the tree itself before, just a single flower head but I did write about it here,  its somber legend and its “Cry Baby” name, given because of the abundant nectar which drips from its spur shaped flowers.
Humming birds love them.


My photo in December 2007

Today I went back to have a look at it again. I am wondering if, in-between the commissions and the packing, I have time for a small painting so I made a couple of quick sketches from different viewpoints.
I didn’t stop for long as it was midday by the time I arrived and blisteringly hot…typical mad dog! Two black and white

coral sm       coral tree sm

and one with some colour

coral col sm

For me very quick initial sketches are a real help. They get rid of the “Oh-my-God-I-cant-possibly-do-this” fear factor and they begin to show me what really interests me in the subject.

For some reason I like the white planter at the front which has some little upright cacti in it.
Two and a half years on from my initial photo, the planting around the tree has changed and it has been pruned a bit more here and there, but it is still a lovely twisty shape.. maybe I will get a painting done.

Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Oh I love this! I've always wanted to grow this tree and I think you captured the contorted look of the branches nicely!

  2. Wonderful! YOU GOT the vitality and life.


    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

  3. I've enjoyed looking at your blog. Your artwork is very nice. The value studies are superb. Sometimes my value studies end up being nicer than my larger final paintings. I will stop in for another visit.

  4. Fantastically beautiful and interesting tree! LOVE your sketches…such talent! I hope you'll paint a pic too…would love to see it!

  5. Thank you all I am on countdown to moving but trying to still keep doing a little drawing.. even if just for my sanity!

    RG, it's a wonderful tree the branches almost touch the ground and twist in so many directions. I am not sure how easy they are to grow but it seems very happy at Leu and withstood the awful winter we had.

    Sharon, Thank you so much, its a lovely tree to draw

    Terry .. You are so right! I very often like the sketches much more than finished work!

    Kinmberly .. Thank you so much.. I am hoping to get the picture painted before we leave!

Comments are closed