Where have you been?
I’ve been up to London to visit the Queen.
What did you there?
I frightened a little mouse under a chair.
None of this is true of course, except I have been up to London and I have visited the Gallery at Buckingham Palace and the old nursery rhyme is going around in my head.
I visited the exhibition of the drawings done by Maria Sibylla Meriam that are in the possession of the Queen. What an amazing woman Maria was, travelling to Surinam in 1699 with her daughter and drawing the plants and insects she found there.
The lady at the entrance desk whispered conspiritorially that David Attenbough was viewing the exhibition, but sadly I did not see him.
I guess the copyright belongs to the Queen and I hope I am not treading on her toes by posting this image.
We were allowed to photograph the images (no flash) which surprised me as the rule nowadays seems to be to prohibit photography, I am posting this amazing drawing, what fun she had observing these creatures, the audio commentary commented that these not entirely accurate but mostly she drew from life.
I also visited the Society of Botanical Artists exhibition (no photography allowed) which is on until 23rd April, and I must say, nothing grabbed me as much as Maria’s work. Maybe it was the lack of creepy crawlies!
Last week I treated myself to a bunch of tulips from the market, pondering for a long time on what colour to choose.
Nearly finished tulips
They have been really fun to draw and I downloaded an audiobook from the library to keep me company Tin Can Tree by Anne Tyler. I use my iPad to record the flowers before I start drawing because flowers move! shock horror…….and they even die.
But, but, but……….this bunch is just as beautiful and I am very tempted to have a go at drawing of these just as they are right now.
I have been considering how to progress my skills and continue with a regular practice and I think I have found a way. I am focussing my attention close to home……my own garden in fact. I have been bemoaning the fact that there are not many plants and they are not very exotic and blah blah blah but in fact they are the plants I have, they are the plants on my doorstep so to speak and the are available all year round – what more do I want?!
I am starting a sketchbook and I am going to catalogue and draw each plant that grows in my garden (as I look around I can see at least thirty different species) which should keep me busy for a while. Each plant will be drawn as it changes through the seasons. I suspect it will be a never ending project as I am already buying new plants and then there will be the vegetables we grow, the bulbs we hope to plant, the herbs, the houseplants, and the bouquets (feel free to send them whenever you like). I might even try some calligraphy so that the notes will also look decorative.
I have found a brilliant web site for cataloguing plants (Plantsmap.com) which appeals to nerdy me – it is FaceBook for plants and I have started adding my plants and collections to help keep track.
Full moon at night and a sunny morning what could be nicer?
I was not able to attend my drawing class this week so I sat down and made up the time so at least I will not fall behind all the others in the class. I have left the tulip (it is not finished yet) and started on the chrysanthemum. I wanted to start to see how the reds would work together and assess the composition. Photograph not very good……but I can’t face tackling photo editing again……
I have signed up again with Janie Pirie for a coloured pencil class and we are now several weeks in. She provided some coloured plates from the 1950s / 1960s and we were to select some flower heads from these plates, to make a composition. This is not how I usually work but I am interested in learning from Janie. I chose these three plates for my flower heads mainly because I wanted some unity in colour as the three flower heads are very different structures.
Left to right, I am using the red/yellow chrysanthemum, the centre salpiglossis, and the bottom open tulip. Strange to use already drawn images as source material. Here is the beginning of the open tulip, I have arranged the flower heads with this one at the bottom the chrysanthemum in the middle and the salpiglossis at the apex, and hopefully the similarity of the colours will give some sense of cohesion to the very simple composition.
Week 51!!?? You gotta be kiddin’ me! Well fancy that, just 9 more drawings to go…….. Well, they are not very exciting drawings this week, my workroom is in such a muddle I have only been able to perch on the corner of my table with a pencil and an A4 pad.
The final month has arrived, it is now a countdown to the finish. I have a spreadsheet that I tick the days off and I have reached the last column; 365 days fitted onto 2 A4 sheets. The only thing that I have not been able to find since the move is sheet one from 1st January until 30th July which is a shame as I wanted to include it in my final post. I have been investigating how to get a blog printed (not for vanity reasons as most of these drawings are heading for the great bonfire in the sky – but just as a record for myself) and have found a site called Blog2Print – has anyone used this service or can recommend another?
Life drawing classes drew to an end this week, I shall miss them. I feel I have really benefitted from the discipline, there is no place to hide when life drawing – everybody knows what a person looks like so it is easy to spot mistakes. Now with my quilt finished I am at a loose end sewing wise and have become drawn to the work of Natalie Chanin both the ethos and the style, so I am experimenting with the technique……….I just wonder if I have the hutzpah to swish around rural Suffolk in these ornate and marvellous creations – well I am now of the age when I can put two fingers up to everyone so maybe I just will! Mind you it will probably take at least a year as they are very labour intensive to sew.
Reverse Applique test
All this sewing has taken time from drawing but still keeping up the project, so here are this weeks offerings, very heavy on the day lily as they are such beautiful elegant plants.