Leaf of the Day: Coral Honeysuckle.. Last Rites

Well the plant survived quite well in the salad drawer of the fridge, the open flower held out until 10.am, then slowly detached itself from the base, slid down the stamens and flopped onto the table. The leaves curled more as the day went on and as it got hotter so the crayons got softer and stickier, the lines got thicker and my temper got shorter, but I did manage to get it all done. Here is it immortalised, glued onto the paper with coloured wax. I am just hoping it won’t now stick to the scanner and have to be scraped off with a palette knife.
It has been an interesting experiment. Any observed drawing has to be a good exercise whatever the outcome but I feel now that I might do a coloured pencil drawing more in my own style just for fun.
There are many very good coloured pencil artists and societies dedicated to the medium. My personal preference is for artists who explore the inherent quality of the “pencilness” of them, of line and shading combined. I like to be able to see the mark, the handwriting if you, like of an artist, which is where I might very well be at odds with the stringency of the botanical art course. The obliteration of the mark of the artist seems quite the thing to strive for at the moment in botanical work which I feel is a shame. It is something I will want to discuss with the tutors on the course.
I personally feel that to see the brush work or pencil work adds so much to the “life” of a painting or drawing, accuracy and detail need not suffer.
It also takes much more skill to develop a style in mark making and paint handling than to slavishly copy a photograph. Sadly, copying skills are so often admired and perceived as the height of artistic achievement by the public. I am always sorry when a beautiful pencil or charcoal drawing is left unnoticed in a gallery when, yet another, tedious, photoreal still life is oohed and ahhed over. I am also very fond of monochrome work, pen and ink was where I started. Like black and white photographs there is a focus on the beauty of line, tone and shape without the distraction of colour ..some black and white artists to follow in next posts I think.

Meanwhile here is a lovely coloured pencil artist, whose work is more after my own heart, Katherine Tyrrell. I should have found her blog sooner as she has some very good advice for Coloured pencil users. Do visit her super art blog with lots of information about coloured pencil and art of all sorts http://makingamark.blogspot.com/
I love the textured shading and the beautiful colours, see more of her prints etc here


Coral Honeysuckle

Leaf Of the Day: Coral Honeysuckle.. first contact.

I made my weekly visit to Leu Gardens today as a treat before starting on a final piece for the coloured pencil unit of the course.
The gardens change every week with new things coming into bloom or leaf, it’s a lovely time to be there. One really delightful discovery was the Chinese Perfume Bush which is a nondescript looking shrub but the perfume of its tiny little white flowers is exquisite.

I have been undecided about which plant to draw for this second assignment, and in the end it comes down to something that will hopefully stay alive for more than a day. I also wanted to do something local to Florida. Pansies might have been easier but what is the point of being here and not engaging with the locals, so I collected this piece of Coral Honeysuckle on the way home. It grows all over a neighbouring fence and so if parts of it die I can go and get some more. I think it grows in the UK as well but is rather cold sensitive ..here it is rampant. I have to say I am not very fond of it but closer study may reveal some hidden beauty. It just lacks the delicacy of the native UK honeysuckles and this one has no scent and the colour is garish.

Anyway today I did a quick “get to know it” sketch and am starting to draw it out. I have given myself all day tomorrow to complete it, so I hope I can keep it alive overnight. ( I have put it in the fridge). If I can get the main drawing done and one leaf and one flower in colour then, if I have to bring on substitutes later, I will at least have a guide to the colours.
There is still one other problem in that I have to hang it from my magnifying stand, as it grows trailing down a chain link fence so the stem has to be a the top. I have put a little piece of wet oasis on the cut end which I spray from time to time ..so I hope that will do the trick.. photographs beckon…


Coral Honeysuckle Sketch