Sunday, January 29, 2012

Graphite Drawings

These are practice sketches for my botanical class: the African violet is my first sketch for the certificate project for this class. We are to do several value studies of the plant until we find the one that seems most suitable for a finished illustration. We will then use the same plant for a watercolor painting. My violet has two small flower buds now--it would be nice to have a few more blossoms to paint before the project is complete.

 Above is another study of  the same orchid I did last week with the budding stem. This week one blossom has opened and it is a very unusual one. Here's a photo of it. I'll probably do a watercolor of it just for my own practice, as well as documenting the plant. I'm trying to figure out what sort of hybrid my Florida roadside purchase is. It resembles some Miltassia hybrids I've seen on-line in photos (hybrids of Miltonia and Brassia genus), but it could be a three-way hybrid with something else. I'm not an orchid expert. The flower has a light scent, not quite a sweet perfume, but something more astringent like night-blooming Jasmine.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Reception at Ranazul

Elena with Terri and Rob Day at Ranazul
An opportunity suddenly came my way last December to show my work at a local upscale restaurant: Ranazul Bistro in nearby Fulton. Ranazul has a beautiful room, the Galeria, for displaying art.

They asked me if I could show my art for the month of January. Luckily, I had a good amount of framed work  from the Brookside show on hand, as well as other paintings from last year's plein air activities, so the show was hung on Jan. 8, and the following Sunday, Ranazul hosted a reception with tapas and champagne for my guests.

I was not expecting much of a turn-out considering the month--at this time of the year most folks are jaded from the Christmas holidays and ready to hibernate. I was surprised that a few friends we hadn't seen in a while turned up--Terri and Rob Day brought a lovely bouquet of flowers for me (Thank you, my dears!), and a number of other friends and family members too, eager to buy their favorite pieces. Herb came along and officiated as photographer. It was a very successful afternoon in all respects.

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Orchid study in graphite
Twigs N Leaves (revised), watercolor

Here are some more botanicals. The Dimensional Study 204 class started last Saturday, and I've been practicing my sketching with an orchid that is about to bloom. I also added a few new elements to my Twigs N Leaves piece for the Painting 103 Class before submitting it for evaluation--I think the composition works better now.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Twigs N Leaves

Twigs N Leaves, watercolor, 10" x 8."
Here's my latest assignment for the Botanical Illustration certificate program. We were charged with composing a "scatter" design with leaves using tertiary colors (ocher, russet and olive green). These colors are the natural colors of the fallen leaves I usually collect on my walks, so it seemed logical to use some of them in my piece.

These particular leaves, with the exception of the glossy Camellia leaf at the top, were gathered on a walk in Rock Creek Park that Herb and I took on a warm November day. The foliage colors were lovely, especially the beeches with their golden brown glow, the maples in reds and yellows coming in a close second. Herb collected the nut--a pignut--which was just cracking open and opened further after a few days indoors. Drawing the nut from a frontal view to reveal the sections of the outer shell with the nut inside was a real challenge, and I had to try several times to get it right.

The Euonymus alatus (lower right, small reddish leaves) is an invasive non-native species, but its tiny red berry with the winged pod adds an interesting detail. There is an American species which is a far more desirable plant and native to our area, Euonymus americanus, also known as Strawberry Bush or Bursting Heart for its unusual seed pods.

Here's a photo taken during our walk.