"Art is the only way to run away without leaving home" (Twyla Tharp)

SBA Diploma Distance Course - Leaf Page


After spending time playing with colour charts and learning more about how the colours interact I spent a lot of time sourcing leaves for the third assignment for the Society of Botanical Artists Diploma Course.  I am finding the planning stage the most difficult part of these assignments as there is so much observation and contemplation required before even getting started.




 The third assignment called for a page of eight leaves - at least six primarily green, two coloured and one of the leaves was to be a monocotyledon.






I decided to choose the monocot first and although there were many typical examples available I chose the Spathiphyllum due to its graceful curve and wonderful opportunity to show tonal contrast in the veins.

I found it difficult to go straight into painting the leaf so I made a line drawing with tonal contrasts as a guide to assist me.  Once I was happy with the position and colours I then moved on to composing the rest of the leaves.   This consisted of trials with each leaf to ensure I was happy to continue on to the final piece.

Once I had more than a few leaves on the final page it was quite nerve wracking.
As I started each new one - I realised that  there was no chance to begin all over again if I wasn't happy with the final result.  It had taken too long to get to this point and I needed to commit.  I saw that the composition was a little lop-sided so I added a few leaves to balance.


My final page consisted of - from top left clockwise - Senecio rowleyanus - String of Pearls, Spathiphyllum - Peace Lily, Alyogyne 'Delightfully Double', Liquidambar styraciflua 'Oakville Highlight', Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem', Hoya carnosa 'Variegata', Eucalyptus wandoo 'Wandoo', Codiaeum variegatum - Croton, Hibiscus tiliaceus 'Rubra'.





My photographs are not ideal - I was going to take a better quality pic once the assignment returned - however my tutor advised me that my page of leaves had arrived quite battered and that the flyweight was broken and the artwork creased down the page.  It has a long way to travel from Western Australia to the UK so I guess this is one of the downfalls of distance learning.  I really enjoyed the page of leaves but I am very keen to start using a rainbow of colours again!

12 comments:

  1. This is a wonderful page Vicki, I love the brilliant appearance of each leaf and how perfectly you captured the light on each one ...from the subtle sheen of the Peace Lily to 'polished' shine of the Magnolia. Love your choice of plants and their beautiful names. A marvellous and great work to be very proud of, my dear friend!

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  2. Superbes chère Vicki! Belles ombres et lumières et l'utilisation du vert est parfait. Très belle composition. Bravo!

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  3. Merci chère Manon, je vous remercie de vos commentaires! Vous êtes un merveilleux soutien xx
    Thank you dear Sonja - your comments mean a lot to me, knowing you have been here too x

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  4. Lovely,lovely work and a great detailed post and you speak tres bien Francais!! xx

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  5. Great post... fab leaves! I love blogger becuase you can zoom into the picture. Hope they didn't get too damaged in the post. Well done on your first watercolour assignment! xx

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  6. Thank you Claire - :):):)
    Thanks Jess - eek don't zoom too close!! Not looking forward to seeing it damaged ...

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  7. It is a lovely page. Do you find that when your work is for someone else it feels different, you become nervous and it seems harder to complete, it certainly does for me. I guess it is like school exams or homework...yours looks beautiful, sorry to hear it got damaged.

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  8. Thanks Milly - I do feel it is different knowing it will be scrutinised - botanical art has to be so accurate it can sometimes take away the spontaneity. I am about to start the fourth assignment - a page of flowers - and I am always hesitant to begin - 'perfection paralysis'! I can't wait to be at the point where I have learnt enough that I can 'play' and still get great results.

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  9. This is a lovely composition Vicki - Congratulations upon a fine result after hours of hard work!!

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  10. Thanks Hedera - exhausting yet satisfying when it's over .... now working on flowers, so many colours so little time .....

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  11. Beautiful work, Vicki. I love the flow of your composition. The leaves just lead ones eye right around the page. Your highlights are really grea too. So sorry to hear about the damage to your work--I hope turns out to be not too bad!

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