Category Archives: botanical

I imagine your love… contemporary charcoal tree art

I imagine your love... (2)I imagine your love... (20)-001I imagine your love... (20)-002

“I imagine your love
To be like the taste 
Of wild, wild berries..”
(Lynn Greyling)
A beautiful poem that sums it all up.
I’ve been keen to get into drawing trees.  I spent alot of last winter drawing bits of trees – cones, branches, teasels, holly etc.  I feel the time is right to tackle the full model.
Reading an article on the painting of trees, it did even more to ignite my wish to complete a tree portrait.  Looking up immediately after reading the article my eyes rested mindfully on this lovely bush just outside my studio window.  Passing it several times a day I feel embarrassed that I had not noticed how beautiful it was.
A week before Valentine’s Day it was probably that influence that had me seeing a heart shaped loop in it’s branches……..
I wanted to extract the shrub from its environment and draw it exclusively on white paper.
It is worked in various types of charcoal – charcoal dust, Nitram charcoal sticks, willow charcoal and charcoal pencils.  Watercolour is added for the berries…
Progress slide show…

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The challenge of dealing with all those tangles was amazing.  At times I couldn’t see the ‘wood for the trees’.  Initially I’d taken a whole load of photographs which were indeed useful but in the end moving my easel so I facing the shrub and drawing it from life was the best option.
We are constantly told that a camera flattens an image, this was certainly true in this case, branches that were visibly weaving their way towards me looked completely flat in the photo.  A good lesson reminder for me…..
The decision to paint the berries with watercolour was in interesting thought process.  When you look at the shrub in life it is indeed the red berries that are what strikes you at first, but in my rendition it’s the twisted curling loops of the branches that are the most striking.  This wasn’t intentional, I had always intended to paint the berries but decided to mute them to darker bluer reds and not represent the sheer volume that is on the shrub itself – artistic licence indeed!
‘I imagine your love….’ is available to purchase from my website shop.  Click here to go there.
Or click on the image below….
I imagine your love... (2)
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Pheasant Fan – original coloured pencil drawing of pheasant feathers

pheasant feathers original coloured pencil drawing from life

I have called this one Pheasant Fan.  It has taken me about 2 months to complete working on it for an hour or so each morning.  I find this method allows me to work on fine detail and then step away and see it again with fresh eyes the next day.

My husband picked up 5 feathers whilst walking our dog Charlie.  The 5 feathers were all different sizes and spread out made a lovely fan….

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My excitement was complete as I know I will be able to produce work from these feathers for many years to come.

Settling on the largest 3 I maintained the fan composition, playing around to get the shadows correct.  My first job is to draw the outline of the feathers in a light graphite drawing. making note of the imperfections in the feathers, which give the drawing more character….

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Then the next 2 months were spent working on the many layers needed.  I make the first layers darker than needed, marking the tone initially in light and dark ochre.  Here’s some progress shots….

The original drawing has been framed in a gorgeous black and gold frame to 18 x 12″…

Pheasant Fan Framed

Pheasant Fan is available from my website shop here or click on the image above to follow the link…

Autumn Conkers – original pencil drawing of horse chestnuts

Autumn Conkers (20)

I think I am going to draw conkers every autumn.  The lovely chestnut colours are such a treat to do.  I have seen many paintings and drawing of conkers and a lot of them seem to feature the shell as well so I thought I would include one.  In actual fact the shell proved the trickiest part and the most enjoyable.  I had to think carefully about all those little brown spots and the various directions that the lines went.

Here is a little video of the progress of the piece…

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The piece is framed and available from my website here or click on the framed image below to take you there.

Autumn Conkers Framed

Bullrush – original graphite drawing

original graphite pencil drawing of a bullrush on white paper

 

I picked up this bullrush on a dog walk.  I’d had my eye on them for a while and when the seasons were just about to turn I picked it.  The ground it was in can be quite marshy when the rains come.  I let it dry out in my studio for a few weeks until it was ready to draw from.

I loved the tall elegance of these plants and have tried to retain its height by doing a narrow drawing.  It is 17 x 10″ on white Arches heavy watercolour smooth paper.  I tried various ways to display it but settled on taping it to a board.  Shining a light on it created interesting shadow shapes.

Here’s a little slideshow of the progress….

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The fluffy poker like seed head was a challenge, I started out trying to drawing every little variation but this was not going to work so in the end with alot of squinting to spot the various tones I resorted to many layers of crosshatched graphite.

The finished piece can be seen on my website shop here… or clicking on the framed image below…

Bullrush framed (20)_

Draw 17 – Society of Graphic Fine Arts annual open Exhibition

I am delighted to have a piece accepted into this prestigous exhibition which takes place at the Menier Gallery on the Southbank, London.

a graphite pencil drawing of sycamore seedsSycamore (20)-001

This was my third attempt to draw this knot of sycamore seeds that I picked up from a walk across the golf course.  First I tried them with oils (too detailed for oils) then watercolours (struggled with the colour mixing) and then reverted to my favourite – graphite.  The pencils did not let me down, they allowed me to create all the fine details and translucent effect…..

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Draw 17 is a wonderful exhibition, I was extremely lucky to have my work hang besides such talented artists.

Winter Catkins – original graphite pencil drawing of woodland catkins

original graphite pencil drawing of catkins, woodland, nature drawing

Winter Catkins

My drawing of catkins has gone really well.  It took me about 4 mornings of an hour – 2 hours sketching each day.  Every time I sat back down to draw it seemed darker and I kept having to go over some previous completed areas.  By the third day I realised that the catkins themselves were darkening as they were drying out – 🙂

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These are the catkins that I plucked whilst walking Charlie,  I thought that in January / February there would be nothing worth sketching,  I’d already done holly and pine cones but no, I was wrong, there is plenty.

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A progress drawing, this is drawn on Daler Rowney Bristol Board,  it is a great surface for these small studies, it holds the graphite well and has a bright white look which then frames well….

The finished piece sitting in its white rustic frame.  The piece is 6 x 6″ and is framed to 8 x 8″.  If you would like to view it in my shop click here or on the image below…

framed pencil graphite drawing of winter catkins

Winter Catkins