I was late planting sunflowers this spring, so while the cut-flower fields at the edge of town are already resplendent with buttery yellow blooms, mine are still all stalks and leaves on the ascent. I always try to include my favorite, Evening Sun (Helianthus annuus) in the garden patch mix. Velvety red petals with a touch of yellow – and dense centers the color of bittersweet chocolate – make them wonderful to draw. This one is painted in gouache and India ink on heavy watercolor paper.
(I’m painting some samples for a June 30 workshop, “Draw and Paint Six Culinary Herbs,” to be offered in Birmingham, Alabama. Join me for a day of creative botanical fun… no previous experience required, and all supplies are provided. Best of all, you get to take home six organically grown potted herb plants at the end of the day!)
I love to draw mice. This little fellow, created with just two Derwent watercolor pencils, was the demo for my Thursday night art class. The pencil colors were Raw Sienna and Chocolate (burnt umber). I sketched him with Raw Sienna, shaded his darker areas and eyes with Chocolate, then loaded up a #10 round brush with clean water and went over him to create a wash. To finish him up, I came back with Chocolate and added whiskers, ear and paw details. Squeak!
Not too long ago, a commissioned colored pencil piece gave me the opportunity to indulge in some exuberant bird-and-mouse fun. The finished artwork was a gift for a little girl, so I wove a pale pink ribbon through the dancing critters:
Meanwhile, I’m working on materials for an upcoming herb-painting workshop. Lavender, mint, oregano, chives, rosemary… now I just need to choose one final herb to occupy the empty space near the top of the watercolor. Suggestions?
Pencil study for a new series of angel paintings
Tropical storm Ida rolled in from the Gulf this morning, but she has been a surprisingly well-behaved visitor. She thoughtfully watered the new transplants for me (brussels sprouts, chard, heirloom collards) and in her wake — as so often happens during hurricane season — we will have several crytalline fall days with blue skies and low humidity. Thanks, Ida!
I’m working on pencil sketches for some new angel paintings. They unfold in front of me, gradually revealing themselves, and I’m glad to go wherever they are leading me.
We’ve had a lot of rain lately. The ground is saturated, clouds of mosquitos are swarming, and tiny mushrooms are popping up throughout the neighborhood. We woke this morning to the latest in a long, gray string of gloomy skies — but suddenly, around midday, the clouds parted and the sun came out. I was relieved that we would not be forced to use our stack of soon-to-be-chicken-coop lumber to build a boat, after all. And I was reminded of this watercolor, painted years ago when my children were small. Here are some close-ups of the cheerful critters:
Most of the cut-flower garden has bloomed itself out for now, but the Perfect Man’s orange canna still provides a welcome blaze of color in the front yard of the studio cottage. I painted this little canna study from a quick sketch made yesterday afternoon… when you’re drawing flowers in the sun on a 95-degree day, quick is the best way to draw!
Evenings, we are turning the far end of the vegetable garden in preparation for planting fall beans next week. I need to shift the summer compost bin contents to the beds and finish pulling down the spent summer bean vines. The herb need attention. The trellis frames need to be restrung so they can hold up our winter squash. And what about all those peppers waiting to be picked, chopped and frozen? Little by little, it will all be done.
Beginning September 22, you can spend your Tuesday evenings happily painting Mobile Bay area plant life (and maybe a butterfly or two) in vivid color and detail. My eight-week Botanical Watercolor course at Space 301 downtown will meet weekly from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, and will include one Saturday field drawing day at a date to be selected by the class.
No previous art experience is necessary… we’ll explore step-by-step scientific illustration techniques in a relaxed, encouraging atmosphere. Develop your powers of observation while using washes, dry brush and glazing. Mix colors to create depth with light and shadow. You’ll never see plants in quite the same way again…
There is a modest supply list for the class — under $20 — and tuition for 8 weeks is $110 (It’s $95 for members of Centre for the Living Arts) .
Fore more information, email education coordinator Cindy Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org