Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Holly and the Ivy

Holly and Ivy, in color pencil (in progress)

The other day that lovely old English carol 'The Holly and the Ivy' was running through my mind while I was taking my lunchtime walk. I found myself on the grounds of the Hilton Hotel walking by a bushy variety of holly I often see used in landscaping, which had abundant clusters of red berries (probably some variety of Chinese holly, Ilex cornuta). Underneath, the ground cover around the parking lot was English Ivy (Hedera helix)--an aggressive grower that can be a plague for gardeners who do not want it.

I took a few cuttings of each with the idea of doing a seasonal-themed botanic painting and brought my cuttings home. I trimmed and arranged the sprigs in a container in my studio and have been working on a color pencil drawing of them as time allows. I used the Faber Castell watercolor pencils  in conjunction with the regular Faber Castell oil-based pencils I normally use, and it's interesting to see how the watercolor pencils behave as opposed to tube watercolor pigments. The watercolor pencil colors blend after water is applied, but some of the shading and texture of the color as it was put down can stay behind, giving interesting variations.

This is as far as I have got with it. There's still quite a bit of work to do making everything darker, particularly the greens.