Tag Archives: history

Fear of the wide open expanse of a sheet of A4 paper

So there I sat one year ago with a blank sheet of paper in front of me and a pencil in my hand, I had delayed this point as long as possible.  I had fiddled with the specimen; should it be nearer or further away, was this view better than that view?  I had adjusted the lighting; from the left side, from the right side, was top lit better or worse. But finally the moment arrived when there was nothing more that I could do so there I was, me and a blank sheet of A4 paper, on the face of it that does not sound too terrifying, but there is something so daunting about the pristine surface and the knowledge of the ugly mark about to be inflicted.

Why should that be?  It’s only a piece of disposable paper, the world is not going to end, nothing is going to change, it’s only making a mark on a piece of paper.  As I reflect on that angst it seems to be based in a fear of failure, of not creating the perfect image, of knowledge of what the image will look like before it is made and of not achieving – not achieving what exactly? Not achieving perfection, and why should perfection be achieved with the first drawing anyway?  It’s a ludicrous idea.  

My pencil touched the paper, and I was off………  The images were as I expected – inexpert and poor, but I was doing it, I was drawing, I was looking at a flower very very hard and trying to capture the essence of what that flower was and what that meant to me.

Over the next few weeks I continued to draw and gradually the fear diminished and to be honest it has never truly gone away, the first mark is the scariest.  My confidence started to grow and with confidence came motivation, a positive feedback loop!

I have added information about snowdrops, aconites and hellebores to my Plants page.

Draws Shoots and Leaves – a good name for a budding botanical artist

What else does a botanical artist do but draw shoots and leaves and of course all the other parts of a plant. It is of course also a play on the book title ‘Eats Shoots and Leaves’ which was very popular a few years ago. After deciding that I wanted to do a blog about my progress as a botanical artist, I asked the family to help with finding a name. Much laughter and hilarity followed with some totally stupid and crazy ideas, surprisingly (or maybe unsurprisingly) many of the names where already in use but finally the name Draws Shoots and Leaves germinated.