One big problem for me, with this kind of detailed work, is waiting for the paint to dry. There is just no use trying to hurry the process and putting more paint on while the coat underneath is wet. You will just get mud. I have to go away from the drawing board and make yet another cup of tea that I won’t drink. A dangerous tactic is to slide over to the computer as that can just end up with hours of “important” browsing. I have recently had to impose a new rule on myself. No Internet between nine and five.
However I have made some progress with the fruit today, but the peel is drying out and changing shape as I look at it. It is nothing like as fragile and annoying as the water plantain saga here though and at least I did not have to get wet feet trying to secure these models. Two of them are Barbados cherries, There are 3 plants in the garden I have found so far. One is a small tree and the other two are low bushy shrubs which are dwarf varieties. The flowers are very pretty small and pink, like tiny little wild roses. They are also called Acerola, or Antilles cherry, Maliphigia glabra.
Image from Texas digital flower project. here
They could easily be confused with the similar Surinam Cherry which I sketched and ate lots of back in April here. The Surinam cherries are a very attractive lantern shape whereas these are just cherry shaped but smaller. I also think the Surinam cherries were tastier.
I sketched these just to get the colours right. The dwarf variety is much darker crimson. I hope that if I work very hard tomorrow I will be able to finish the fruit piece… I hope I am getting quicker.
There has been little time for drawing today as I have been out all day. On the way to Leu Gardens I stopped by the Orlando Art Museum and spent far too long there. Because I am thinking about the colour green I wanted to see how some other painters approach this tricky colour and its only really possible to understand if you see original paintings.
The Norman Rockwell exhibition is still showing and they have a good selection of classic and modern paintings. Rockwell actually uses very little “green” at all. Only viridian really which seems to be the main one and occurs in many of his works, subdued with ochres or with white added and then set against cream and brilliant red, two or three of the paintings there had this similar colour scheme. It was very interesting to look at an exhibition with just one colour in mind.
I also went to do a bit of quick sketching in the African and South American culture galleries where they have some great Pre-Columbian ceramics and beautiful African beadwork.
On to Leu gardens where things are now beginning to look familiar, now I know landmarks and some of the plants and instead of it all being a blur of green, I can spot individuals. Today I also met the head gardener and now have official permission to take a leaf or two here and there to draw. It’s marvellous as I am getting very jaded with the mall borders and the apartment block gardens. However I am now faced with so much choice I don’t know where to start.
I found my friend Pedro again and this time he took me to see another amazing edible that grows in the Gardens. The Surinam or Barbados Cherry eugenia uniflora is a large shrubby tree and at the moment it is covered with small berries that look like little Chinese lanterns. They are in different degrees of ripeness and you should really only eat the reddest ones which are the sweetest. They have a strange flavour which is difficult to describe, sweet but tangy. Apparently they are jam packed with vitamin C. Lots more things are now in bloom including huge magnolias, brilliant yellow trumpet trees and the stunning coral trees, amongst which is the interesting “naked coral tree” which is just begging to be in a post along with the Roxburg fig tree whose huge leaves would cover almost every inch of even the most modest Adam and Eve!
If all this wasn’t enough see and do today I called at the supermarket on the way home and have found some really cool fruit and veg to draw….
Here are a couple of sketches of the cherry.