The Simplicity of Line

Over at the artist’s twitter group it’s #linefebruary. So this week I have been doing some line sketching.
Line, to me, means just line, which could be reproduced in only black and white with no halftones. I normally take a wash brush with me to add tonal values but this week for a change I have used just black and white and different combinations of pens, some dip pens, some technical pens


Everywhere are tangles of brambles.

There is a place on the path where heaps of long mown meadow grass have been slowly drying and disintegrating. They provide cover for small animals who have burrowed into the heaps and the wind has formed  them into swirls.

line-bg     grass-heaps-bg


I an rather fascinated by these forms and make this white on black study of one of the heaps.


Windy reservoir …


…and thumbnails of bits and pieces. All approx A4.

I have put this page in upside down, which makes things even more interesting. They are all based on  the reservoir walks so I know exactly what and where they were, although some bear very little resemblance to the place.
Perhaps you could say they just have something of the essence of each place, which is often all that an artist really wants to achieve. I love pure black and white. It provides a different view and proposes many different possibilities. Some of the marks can be wonderful if you can let them happen.

Leaf of the Day: Curly Croton

My second croton. (the earlier one is here.) This one I like better. Its not quite the corkscrew variety which twists the whole way up the stem but this one does have one full turn. To my mind the individual leaves are more attractive than the plant as a whole. Their beautiful shapes can get lost in all that exuberant colour…but then the colours and patterns are wonderful too.

The colour of this one is extraordinary. A red background with dark green patches bordered in a yellowy green. The back of the leaf is deep magenta. It’s very beautiful. I will certainly return to these when I start working in colour. They are also known as Joseph’s Coat and are definitely the Jackson Pollock of the plant world.
I have read that the name Croton comes from the Greek word “tick”, because of the similarities of the seeds to dog ticks.. to be honest lots of seeds look like ticks to me! Its Latin name is Codiaeum Variegatum and it is part of the extensive Euphorbiaceam family apparently over 2000 varieties. I blanch at the prospect of all those leaves from just one genus. Some more information about them, if you are interested, is here from Waynes Word .
This one came from the shrubby borders of Park Avenue where I saw the squirrel yesterday. The council have kindly labeled some of the lovely trees which are planted at the roadside. .. but not the shrubs.

I had been to the Creadle School of Art today for my second ceramics class. I love working in clay but there is so much to learn. I´m on week two of the lumpen ashtray. I wont be sharing the results with you just yet.


The Curly Croton

Leaf of the Day: The Turkey Oak

The leaf of the turkey oak which I found on the pavement here the other day.. well its hard to miss them really. They are all wonderful shapes and have given me some ideas for a series. The tree has lost most of its leaves. It is more deciduous than the live oak.
The name is given to this oak becuase its leaves resemble turkey’s feet!

Compare and contrast.

The Turkey Oak

First Leaf of the Day: The Live Oak

My very first leaf of the day and it had to be the leaf of the splendid live oak tree. At the moment we are living in Winter Park a suburb of Orlando and there are live oaks in abundance. Huge and beautiful trees cast a dappled shade on the sidewalks and some star in the elegant gardens in this district . Why “live”? …because they stay green for almost all of the year. They are so different from the English oak. The leaves are tougher and some are almost like holly. It is a really magnificent tree and my first sight of Spanish moss hanging from its branches in the leafy side streets of Winter Park will always remain with me. Some interesting facts about the live oak are here from the Winter Park Live Oak Fund. There are two small live oaks outside our apartment where squirrels chase and chatter and generally squirrel about.
The leaves are very small,the longest only 2.5 inches. One would not have seemed enough! This also shows that some have prickles and some are very smooth.
The Live Oak