"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Leaf of the Day: Plains Tickseed

This is my third attempt to get this little flower back to the house unwilted. This one is on its last legs and, as I am drawing it at 8.00pm, I know how it feels, but it deserves to immortalised. I had sketched it down at the gardens today in situ. It's so pretty and delicate with lovely yellows and russet browns and this is another one I will have to pay more attention to when I get round to colour studies more seriously. The Plains tickseed, coreopsis tinctoria — so called because the seeds look like bugs.(the translation from the Greek koris specifies bed bugs in fact), tintoria because this little plant was a well known source of a bright yellow dye. Below are the on-site colour sketch and a quick pencil study.

My second trip to Leu Gardens was not very productive in terms of drawings. I am not an habitual plein air artist and am easily distracted by what is going on around me, squirrels, woodpeckers, lizards etc, also this seems to be the time of the school outing, so I spent more time trying to find a quiet spot than actually doing anything.

It is sometimes very hard to decide what to paint given a free hand and so many possibilities, but time and time again I am drawn to the trees so I returned to gazebo view which I found on Monday and have decided to try to concentrate my efforts here. The gazebo is quite a plain little white pavilion but I like the aspect and the huge surrounding trees, so have I will make a few studies and see what I can do, without resorting to any photographs at all. So far, since starting the blog, I have managed to resist. I have nothing against using photographs as an aid, and as an illustrator it was absolutely necessary (a quick trip from the UKto India to sketch a Baobab for a 3 day deadline is a bit impractical). But working without them means that you get a different result and you have to look much harder which is partly the reason for doing the course, to return to more careful observation and just draw without even thinking of finished work. That can come later.
So I intend to take a step by step approach from pencil sketch to tonal sketch and colour note drawings, see how they turn out and (maybe) post the results. However today I spent a bit more time just looking at the greens and watching the light change on the trees..and the squirrels gamboling and the woodpeckers pecking ..I hope tomorrow I will find them less charming (in the literal sense of the word) and be able to concentrate better..
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Plains Tickseed





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